One small step for man, one giant leap for conservation

Paul Mardikian, Claudia Chemello, and Jerrad Alexander


This article describes the technical challenges of stabilizing and conserving 25,000 lb. (12.5 tons) of Apollo-era (1969–1972) Saturn V rocket engine parts that were recovered off the coast of Florida in 2013. After more than 40 years on the floor of the Atlantic Ocean, the engines had suffered extreme levels of deterioration and corrosion. Treatment was accomplished by taking a deliberate, archaeological object–based treatment approach for these composite objects that are both modern technological marvels and marine archaeological artifacts. The article describes the archaeological treatment approach adopted and the results of selected analytical work undertaken to understand the materials of construction and the deterioration processes.

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2015 | Miami | Volume 22