The copyright line for this article was changed on 7 October 2014 after original online publication
Degradation of Archaeological Wood Under Freezing and Thawing Conditions—Effects of Permafrost and Climate Change
Article first published online: 21 FEB 2013
© 2013 The Authors. Archaeometry published by John Wiley & Sons Ltd on behalf of University of Oxford.
This is an open access article under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits use, distribution and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.
Volume 56, Issue 3, pages 479–495, June 2014
How to Cite
Matthiesen, H., Jensen, J. B., Gregory, D., Hollesen, J. and Elberling, B. (2014), Degradation of Archaeological Wood Under Freezing and Thawing Conditions—Effects of Permafrost and Climate Change. Archaeometry, 56: 479–495. doi: 10.1111/arcm.12023
- Issue published online: 20 MAY 2014
- Article first published online: 21 FEB 2013
- Manuscript Accepted: 30 NOV 2012
- Manuscript Received: 9 JUN 2012
- Augustinus Foundation
- decay rate;
- environmental monitoring;
- oxygen consumption;
The degradation of archaeological wood at freezing and thawing temperatures is studied at the site of Qajaa in West Greenland through a combination of environmental monitoring, measurement of oxygen consumption and microscopy of wood samples. Permanently frozen wood is still very well preserved after 2–4000 years, while wood samples that thaw every summer show attack by soft rot and an average density loss of 0.1 g cm–3 (corresponding to 25% of the dry mass) over the past 27 years. Future increases in temperature may increase the decay rate significantly (Q10 = 4.2 at 0–10°C) but the effects on site depend on local hydrology.