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Case 6: Cultural Assets Rescued

After a heavy rainfall the cellar of an institute for archeology was flooded. Was the building site in front of the institution to blame?

The water in the cellar rose to 1.5 m. A unique collection of books, original documents and magazines about archeological sites were in danger of being destroyed. Celtic belt buckles were exposed to corrosion.

Firstly, all metal objects were laid out to dry. Wet books had to be dried slowly and carefully. They had to be put into cold storage at the railway station. Drying equipment was installed to reduce immediately the level of humidity in the cellar when the water had been pumped out. The state of all the objects, e.g. ceramics, had to be examined.

The clarification of the responsibility concerning this damage was very complex because the insurances of the institute, the supervision of construction and the building contractor, had to be coordinated as for their respective contributions. The fact that rain caused the damage was a supplementary problem.

Due to immediate reaction and following the correct order of measures to minimize the damage, RMS saved the irretrievable cultural goods. Any delay would have caused the paper of the original documents to clot and all the trouble would have been vain.

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