A Glass Lens or Looking Glass from the Swash Wreck

A Glass Lens or Looking Glass from the Swash Wreck

- On-going


This object, believed to have been made in the early to mid-1600’s, has been a surprise highlight of a collection of material retrieved from one marine concretion that originated from the site of the Swash channel wreck in Poole Harbour.

The large and extremely hard concretion contained an exposed pewter flagon, which conservators and finds specialists wanted to remove for stabilisation, future study and display. At the initial conservation assessment stage and before de-concreting began, an X-ray was taken. The x-rays revealed a number of other objects associated with the concretion but hidden within it such as a barrel tap and a small, mysterious and unusual looking form. This, mystery object was only truly identified and revealed once the conservator had carefully extracted the delicate form from the surrounding concretion mass. As a rare surviving example of a fragile glass lens it is held within a delicate metal frame.

After de-concretion the objects were desalinated by being placed in successive baths of fresh water where the chloride ion release was monitored until a level was achieved indicating the process was complete. The objects were then air-dried and the glass lens consolidated with a reversible acrylic adhesive.

Case Study Images

  • Glass lens concretion
  • X-ray of concretion
Back to case studies