The book includes chapters on the anatomy and structure of wood and the physical and biological decay of shipwrecks under water. Well-known shipwrecks in the Baltic Sea are introduced, focusing upon their state of preservation and are compared to finds typically found in the North Sea and the Mediterranean. Microbial decay processes and their identification in both sediments and the water column are also discussed and related to other natural decay processes, as well as human impacts. Finally, a summary of available methods for the in-situ protection of wrecks is presented and a cost-benefit analysis of in-situ preservation versus conventional raising and conservation is given.
Contents: 1) Introduction; 2) The Baltic Sea: a unique resource of underwater cultural heritage; 3) Other European waters; 4) The Baltic Sea environment; 5) Wood as material; 6) Wood degraders in the Baltic Sea; 7) The decay process of shipwreck timbers in the Baltic; 8) Spread of shipworm into the Baltic; 9) In-situ preservation of a wreck site; 10) Future research.