Copper Kettle


Recently, several artifacts have come to the MAC Lab for conservation treatment from Presidio La Bahia (“Fort on the Bay”) in Texas. Presidio La Bahia is a Spanish frontier fort and the most fought over fort in Texas history, having seen six National Revolutions/Wars for independence. This copper alloy kettle was recovered during ongoing archaeological excavations at the Presidio. Upon arrival at the MAC Lab, conservators cleaned the surface to remove dirt, corrosion products, and concretions using an ultrasonic scaler – the same tool sometimes used by dentists to clean your teeth (fun fact!). The scaler works by vibrating thousands of times per second as pressure is applied to the object, while water washes away the residue as it’s removed. After the kettle was cleaned, it was coated three times with a protective acrylic material used on copper alloy. This kettle was obviously an important and much used object at the Presidio as is evidenced by the MANY areas that had been patched over time to keep it functional.


Kettle before treatment


Kettle after treatment

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