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Keywords:

  • Duart Point wreck;
  • HMVS Cerberus;
  • predicted treatment times;
  • sacrificial anodes

Analysis of the pre-disturbance values of the in situ corrosion parameters on historic iron shipwrecks and artefacts has established that the arithmetic product of the pH and corrosion potential is dependent on the burial environment and provides a unique insight into the objects' state of decay. The value of the product changes during in situ conservation treatment with sacrificial anodes, and reaches a minimum at which point the treatment is completed. Treatment times vary with water-depth, being faster on shallower sites and shorter for more extensively corroded artefacts. The model was developed using data from the Duart Point wreck (1653), the Monitor-styled warship HMVS Cerberus (1926) and a series of wrecks in Australia and the USA.