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Fiona Eryilmaz

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Reply with quote  #1 
1st post so please bear with me. I have a lovely collection of woolly mammoth teeth that I acquired from my late father who dug them up from a limestone quarry he worked in Lincs. Any idea how to preserve them and possibly remove the excess limestone without causing damage? Thanks in advance

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Barrow Museum

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Reply with quote  #2 
Presumably these teeth were collected many years ago, and I am impressed that, with no conservation, they are in such good condition.  A standard way to consolidate and keep them protected from warping, fragmentation and general handling wear is as follows:

Make up a milky suspension of PVA in water (the PVA should ideally not be normal slightly acidic woodworking glue, but have a neutral pH and a high plasticiser content)
Soak the teeth for as long as you can (a week to a month) in the suspension, then allow to dry very slowly (I use a plastic bag).
Check occasionally and add PVA if the tooth seems to be cracking.
When finally dry, they should be stable, but keep an eye on them, as changes in temperature and humidity can still affect the structure.
Another method involves soaking in a Paraloid (B72) acetone solution but is not something I'd advise outside of a laboratory, given the quantities of solvent involved.

I'd experiment on one first, just to make sure that the tooth will not disintegrate in water.  Otherwise, simply applying a dilute consolidant (Paraloid would be the best) to the exterior should work, given their condition.
I don't see any limestone adhering to the teeth, which would have been taken from the Pleistocene deposits above the Limestone (I am assuming here that your father worked in one of the Middle Jurassic limestone quarries).  I'd appreciate seeing a close-up of the ammonite, if that is from the same source.



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Elbert

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Reply with quote  #3 
Hello, mammothteeth from a deposit wich is not marine are mostly stable and unless they start fracturing they do not need to be preserved.
The lime can be removed with (builders)acid, put on with a brush and scraped untill the tooth is clean.
Best worked outside...

greetings, Bert

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Fiona Eryilmaz

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Reply with quote  #4 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Barrow Museum
Presumably these teeth were collected many years ago, and I am impressed that, with no conservation, they are in such good condition.  A standard way to consolidate and keep them protected from warping, fragmentation and general handling wear is as follows:

Make up a milky suspension of PVA in water (the PVA should ideally not be normal slightly acidic woodworking glue, but have a neutral pH and a high plasticiser content)
Soak the teeth for as long as you can (a week to a month) in the suspension, then allow to dry very slowly (I use a plastic bag).
Check occasionally and add PVA if the tooth seems to be cracking.
When finally dry, they should be stable, but keep an eye on them, as changes in temperature and humidity can still affect the structure.
Another method involves soaking in a Paraloid (B72) acetone solution but is not something I'd advise outside of a laboratory, given the quantities of solvent involved.

I'd experiment on one first, just to make sure that the tooth will not disintegrate in water.  Otherwise, simply applying a dilute consolidant (Paraloid would be the best) to the exterior should work, given their condition.
I don't see any limestone adhering to the teeth, which would have been taken from the Pleistocene deposits above the Limestone (I am assuming here that your father worked in one of the Middle Jurassic limestone quarries).  I'd appreciate seeing a close-up of the ammonite, if that is from the same source.



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Fiona Eryilmaz

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Reply with quote  #5 
Great. Thanks for the advice . They had been kept in a shed wrapped in paper for nearly 20 years, Some of the teeth are starting to flake and one had split right across into 2 parts .
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Barrow Museum

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Reply with quote  #6 
The ammonite is a Pictonia seminudata - a species from the basal Kimmeridge Clay Formation (Baylei Zone) when found in situ.  This one looks as if it has also been recovered from the glacial material associated with the mammoth teeth, so did not originate from the limestone quarried at this site.  Compare it with a very similar one from Lincolnshire, which I collected from the Kimmeridge Clay itself. Pictonia seminudata.jpg 
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ophthalmosaur

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Reply with quote  #7 
You have a great collection of mammoth teeth . I don't see any excess limestone to remove either. If I were you, I'd stick to treating with a thinish solution of paraloid. The PVA treatment is best when the fossils are still full of moisture and using a water based solvent when the fossils have been dry for years will likely cause expansion and damage. 

regards

Paul


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