A – Glossary terms

Abrasion/ abraded:

Damage to the surface caused by rubbing or friction.

Accelerated aging:

Testing that uses heightened conditions of heat, oxygen, sunlight, vibration, etc. to speed up the normal aging processes of items. This assists CSR to determine how an artefact is likely to age or deteriorate and what measures can be put in place to prevent this. Also it can be used on display or storage materials to ensure they do not become volatile as they age.

Accretion / residues:

Deposit of foreign matter on the surface, e.g. mud, usually stuck to the surface. Residues often accretions arising from use e.g. food residues.


Active corrosion:

Evidence of ongoing deterioration, e.g. with loose powdery, friable, pitted or flaking corrosion/surfaces or colour change.


Any pieces or parts that were added to the original artifact over the course of its history.


Conservators use a number of conservation grade glues and adhesives in their work. Some of these include:

  • Corn, wheat or tapioca starch glues
  • Klucel G / E – A non-ionic cellulose ether with a remarkable combination of properties. Often used as a Consolidant.


Changes made to the object over the course of its history that affect or change its appearance or function.

Ancient repair:

Some objects include historical repairs. These could include patches, rivets, solders, and adhesives, and can sometimes start to deteriorate. Conservators often have to remove ancient repairs as part of the conservation process.

Anoxic treatment:

A type of treatment for pest infested artefacts. The artefact is placed in a chamber and the oxygen is slowly removed and replaced with nitrogen which kills off any live insects and eggs. (Freezing and heat treatment are also available at the WCEC for pest infested items).

Archaeological fresh finds:

Artefacts which have been freshly excavated.


Within conservation authenticity refers to the ethical treatment of an object – the conservator must not change the aesthetic or integral meaning of an artefact through treatment.