Application of FTIR spectroscopy to the characterization of archeological wood

Two archeological wood samples were studied by attenuated total reflectance Fourier transform infrared (FTIR– ATR) spectroscopy. They originate from a shipwreck in Ribadeo Bay in the northwest of Spain and from a beam wood of an old nave of the Cathedral of Segovia in the central Spain. Principal component analysis was applied to the transposed datamatrix (samples as columns and spectral bands as rows) of 43 recorded spectra (18 in the shipwreck and 25 in the beam wood). The results showed differences between the two samples, with a larger proportion of carbohydrates and smaller proportion of lignin in the beam than in the shipwreck wood.Within the beam wood, lignin content was significantly lower in the recent than the old tree rings (P=0.005). These variations can be attributed to species differences between the two woods (oak and pine respectively), with amixture of guaiacyl and syringyl in hardwood lignin, whereas softwood lignin consists almost exclusively of guaiacyl moieties. The influence of environmental conditions on the FTIR fingerprint was probably reflected by enhanced oxidationof lignin in aerated conditions (beam wood) and hydrolysis of carbohydrates in submerged-anoxic conditions (shipwreck wood). Molecular characterization by analytical pyrolysis of selected samples from each wood type confirmed the interpretation of the mechanisms behind the variability in wood composition obtained by the FTIR–ATR.
Mohamed Traoré, Joeri Kaal, Antonio Martínez Cortizas
Spectrochimica Acta Part A: Molecular and Biomolecular Spectroscopy, 153 (2016) 63–70 pp

Funded by

Host institution

Useful links



Blog ForSEADiscovery



Blog Nautical Archaelogy



The ForSEAdiscovery project follows the spirit and the text of the  UNESCO Convention on the Protection of the Underwater Cultural Heritage especially in the matters detailed in its Annex

Underwater Cultural Heritage

Social networks