William Bartlet Wharf Timber

Conservators at the MAC Lab are treating a timber from a historically important wharf owned by William Bartlet that stood on the waterfront of Newburyport, MA in the late 18th century. This large sawn timber was part of a bulkhead that had been preserved under fill until it was recently excavated by archaeologists. The timbers of the bulkhead were discovered in excellent condition and their beveled edges and lap joints provide information about how the wharf was built. At the time it was unearthed the timber was believed to be pine, but our conservators have identified the species as hemlock, a type of wood we don’t typically encounter here at the MAC Lab. After conservation in completed, this artifact will go on display at the Newburyport Maritime Museum as the museum’s first recovered example of an 18th-century wharf timber.

Conservators lift the wharf timber using a crane.

Lap joint of wharf timber (a lap joint interlocks two pieces
of material to create a flush surface).


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