International Centre for the Study of the Preservation and Restoration of Cultural Property
Microscopic techniques to study mineral…

Microscopic techniques to study mineral materials in cultural heritage

Course / Cours
Organizing institution(s): University of Applied Arts Vienna, Federal Monuments Authority Austria
Training start date:
Training end date:
Location of event (if online/distance learning please specify): Vienna (AT)
The analysis of the mineral material of architectural and archaeological objects in the laboratory is frequently a challenging task for conservation scientists, building researchers and archaeologists. It includes the identification and characterization of stones, mortars and ceramics as well as the assessment of their structural and material failures. Within the range of various methods of analysis employed, thin section petrography, especially when combined with SEM, offers a powerful method to gain relevant information on historical and modern building materials. As for most imaging analyses, the success of this approach does not only depend on the quality of the sections, but most of all on the skill of the expert in selecting the most appropriate mode of observation and interpreting the results. Planned as a platform for scientists and experts with a background in mineral artefacts, the five-day workshop is aimed at demonstrating and discussing the potential of light microscopic and SEM techniques in the field of restoration, building research, conservation science and archaeology-archaeometry. The main focus is laid on the thin section analysis of mortars, plasters, concrete, stone and ceramics by applying transmitted and reflective light. Composition,workmanship and degradation will be discussed.
The group will comprise a maximum of 20 participants. Lectures and discussions are in English. They will be jointly held by three conservation scientists with degrees in geology and petrography and a sound background in the use of different microscopic techniques in their fields. Following an introduction on methodology, each type of material will be quickly discussed on a general level before displaying via beamer examples of analysis by microscopy of actual samples. Attendees are invited to forward their wishes to discuss specific topics more in detail.
Attendance fee;:
The 5 day participation amounts to 590 EUR
Upon request, a few participants can be granted admittance to the course at a reduced fee. Students and participants from low-income countries will be preferred.
We invite you to select a mineral material of specific interest to you (weathered stone, mortar, ceramic, etc.) and send us a sample along with a short description at the time of registration (but not later than the end of June). We will then produce polished thin sections and examine them together with you by means of polarizing microscopy and SEM! Extra costs: 60 EUR. – In addition, please bring your own sections with you!
Application deadline: