Ineducable us: the applications and contexts of microscopy used for the characterisation of historic building materials

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

1 Downloads (Pure)

Abstract

The analysis by microscopy of the compositions and microstructures of geomaterials found in historic structures and buildings is integral to archaeological, art-historical, conservation and restoration-related investigations, and supports decision making for material replacement and repair. In archaeology there is a need to elucidate past social, economic and technological processes, and to understand the environmental impacts of past human activities related to materials use. Standard light and electron microscopy are most commonly employed, but high resolution methods such as transmission electron and three-dimensional tomography such as µ-CT are also being used. Experimental and novel developments, where they overlap with advanced materials science, are uncommon. The application of scientific characterisation frames cultural heritage value, reinforcing our understanding of authenticity and integrity. Characterisation is constrained, in turn, by the values system that operates in cultural heritage. International charters and conservation philosophy necessitate the application of science to contextualising conservation. However, the appearance of science in heritage work has also led to the performance of science for its own sake (‘endoscience’, sensu Muñoz Viñas, Contemporary Theory of Conservation, Routledge, 2011). This moves some to suggest that there is a disconnect between scientific work and its practical value. Apparent communication problems between scientists applying microscopy and other stakeholders require changes to management of material characterisation in heritage projects.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)136-144
Number of pages9
JournalRILEM Technical Letters
Volume2
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 31 Dec 2017

Keywords

  • microscopy
  • cultural heritage
  • conservation

Fingerprint Dive into the research topics of 'Ineducable us: the applications and contexts of microscopy used for the characterisation of historic building materials'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

  • Activities

    • 1 Types of Award - Fellowship awarded competitively
    • 1 Types of External academic engagement - Invited talk

    Getty Conservation Institute, Conservation Guest Scholar

    John Hughes (Recipient)

    6 Apr 202026 Jun 2020

    Activity: OtherTypes of Award - Fellowship awarded competitively

    16th EMABM 2017- Invited Speaker-keynote

    John Hughes (Speaker)

    14 May 201717 May 2017

    Activity: OtherTypes of External academic engagement - Invited talk

    Research Output

    Mortars in Historic Buildings: A Review of the Conservation, Technical and Scientific Literature

    Hughes, J. J. & Válek, J., 1 Jun 2003, Edinburgh: Historic Scotland. 80 p. (Literature Review)

    Research output: Book/ReportBook

    Cite this