This work is focused on a multidisciplinary study of 13 pottery fragments collected in the submerged archaeological site of Baia (Naples, Italy). Founded by the Romans in the 1st century B.C., this archaeological area represents one of the greatest evidences of Roman architecture and it includes ancient ruins whose structures range from maritime villas and imperial buildings. Several diagnostic tests were carried out in order to characterize the archaeological materials, their structure and properties, as well as the alteration and degradation products. Degradation forms in seawater imply not only a variation in the physico-mechanical and chemical properties of the material but also an aesthetic damage, due to superficial deposits, which can lead to the illegibility of the artefacts. In this context, it is crucial to determine to what extent these decay factors, mainly attributable to biological growth, could affect the durability of pottery and what are the effects of cleaning procedures. The work offers further elements to obtain new insights into the underwater cultural heritage field and in the function of ceramic matter, especially related to several applications in technology and in the adoption of strategies for suitable conservation procedures.
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