Re: Use of Cotton in Storage of Archaeological Collections


Cotton wool is also abrasive and can contain small amounts of materials from its plant origins (depending on purity). It degrades quite unpleasantly. The biggest problem is that it tends to stick to object surfaces (physical tangles and getting stuck to surface after they have become warm or damp in storage)and can be very difficult to remove. It’s standard in the UK to pack special archaeological objects in inert styrene boxes in a carefully cut block of Plastazote polythene foam and less wonderful items in unsealed ziplock bags with a rectangle of thin Jiffy polythene foam as an inner lining. In both cases the aim is to reduce handling (you can see the object without removing it from its packaging) and minimise physical damage when moving. Silica gel bags can be placed in the storage with the item if relative humidity must be kept low.
Hope this helps too