The effects of oil contamination on cultural resources will continue to be a challenge to the Gulf Coast region for years to come. NCPTT is meeting this challenge with technical research support for state and federal land managers, and for the public.

Jason Church collects samples of oil-saturated sand northwest of the outer wall of Fort Livingston, Grand Terre Island. The dark patches on the sand in the foreground are areas where "mousse" that washed up on the beach melted into the sand. The structure's walls are tabby, faced with brick. Note the high tide line indicated by the dark oil staining on the brick and the tabby in the background.

At the request of the Louisiana Office of State Parks, NCPTT researchers visited Fort Livingston to document oiling, sample crude oil from the rupture, and provide guidance for cleaning up the site.  The crude oil samples will be used in future research projects.

The National Center provided advice for containing the oil away from sensitive historic structures to the National Park Service’s Gulf Islands National Seashore and other locations.  NCPTT also partnered with Louisiana State University to evaluate and test rapid documentation methods in Grand Isle, La., and further north along Bayou Lafourche.

Early in the response efforts, NCPTT coordinated with other federal agencies to develop protocols and best practices to document and protect cultural resources.  Additional efforts included providing public maps showing location of historic structures and sites in relation to the oil spill.

NCPTT continues to participate in regular NPS-organized conference calls with federal agencies about cultural resources response in the affected area. More recently, the National Center developed general guidance for removal of crude oil contamination from historic structures.  Fact sheets are planned for removal of crude oil from archeological objects.

A new research project is under development to test surface washing agents on historic materials.  Results of this research will help responders select appropriate cleaners from those listed on the Environmental Protection Agency National Contingency Plan Product Schedule.

National Center for Preservation Technology and Training
645 University Parkway
Natchitoches, LA 71457

Email: ncptt[at]
Phone: (318) 356-7444
Fax: (318) 356-9119