Yenikapı Shipwrecks found inside the sediment brought by the Lykos Creek and totally protected compared to many shipwrecks which were excavated underwater. However, it is not possible to display or store waterlogged ship timbers without conservation and restoration. Due to biological activity, ship timbers situated underground for more than a thousand years deteriorated and their cell structures were damaged. Conservation procedure of The Shipwrecks starts from the moment they are unearthed. Protection tents were set up over the areas where the ships were situated to be able to minimize external influences and prevent shrinkage, cracking, breaking caused by dehydration. During documentation, dehydration of the timbers are prevented by creating a %100 relative humidity rate with an atomize sprinkler system inside the tent. Excavated shipwrecks are transferred to conservation tanks to start their desalination processes and bactericide and fungicides are used for protection. Measurements of maximum water content, deterioration state and circumstances that causing deterioration are determined by ESEM, XRF, XRD and ICP-MS analyses. Also species identification of timbers have been completed at Istanbul University’s Faculty of Forestry.
Desalination procedure is applied on timbers which are dismantled and placed into tanks. Iron compounds on the desalinated timbers are removed using chemical and mechanical methods. Chemical cleaning is applied by 4 hours of cushioning with a mix of %5 disodium EDTA and oxalic acid. Cleaning is repeated until all stains are disappeared.
By adding various chemical substances in wood cells make them replacing the water inside and provides mechanical force to the woods. Yenikapı shipwrecks will be treated with a pre-impregnation of PEG (polyethylene glycol) and afterwards freeze-drying and Melamine Formaldehyde based Kauramin® to comply with international standards. After impregnating timbers with this synthetic resin derived substance in the conservation tanks, drying process will be completed and it is going to be possible to put the ship timbers together again. The shipwrecks will be displayed at a museum, after these procedures have been completed.
Department of Conservation of Marine Archaeological Objects was founded in 2008 for the conservation of Yenikapı Shipwrecks within Istanbul University. Ship Conservation and Reconstruction Laboratory was brought into servise inside the academic structure where conservation and restoration work of Yenikapı Shipwrecks will be carried out.