National Geographic : 1969 Feb
"The cellulose in the wood, through the centuries, has been replaced by sea water," explained our conservation expert, David Leigh of the University of Southampton. To preserve the wood, David told us, we would have to place it in a bath of simmering water and an inert chemical compound called Carbowax 4000 that would prevent the wood's shrinking or crumbling as it dried. The bath would flush out the salt from the wood and, as the water evaporated, it would be replaced by the Carbowax, until after some months the water would completely disappear. The wood would then be stable and could be stud ied and exhibited. This was the same chemical used to preserve the three-centuries-old Vasa.* 298 Each day we were uncovering more and more wood. Finding space for treating and storing it became the next order of business. Thanks to Professor Stazio and Adm. Sal vatore Pelosi (page 292), space for a mari time museum was found in the Castello Sant' Angelo, the Italian Navy's local headquarters. Inside this 15th-century fortress, commonly known as the Aragonese Castle, a series of preserving tanks designed by David were built by a skilled mason. Archangel Faces a Test At the wreck site, to get at the wood, the crew had to remove the remaining marble sarcophagi and blocks, the heaviest weighing *See "Ghost From the Depths: The Warship Vasa," by Anders Franzen, GEOGRAPHIC, January 1962.