The application of heritage science in cultural heritage management: end user research

Willey, Jo (2014) The application of heritage science in cultural heritage management: end user research. MRes thesis, University of Lincoln.

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Item Type:Thesis (MRes)
Item Status:Live Archive


The subject of this Research Master of Science (MSc) carried out in the Science Faculty at the
University of Lincoln is the application of heritage science in cultural heritage management.
Within this broad area, the focus is on practical end user research that contributes to the
interpretation, documentation and conservation of cultural heritage objects. The aim of the
Research MSc was to address gaps in current knowledge and practice in the heritage sector
identified in the U.K. National Heritage Science Strategy reports in 2009-2010, as well as
specific questions that came up in conservation projects at the University Museum of Bergen
in Norway prior to carrying out the Research MSc. The results of two research components are
presented in the thesis. The first consists of the characterisation of a collection of modern
religious medals from the University Museum of Bergen using portable X-ray fluorescence
spectroscopy (pXRF) combined with environmental scanning electron microscopy-energy
dispersive X-ray spectroscopy (ESEM-EDX) mapping and stereo microscopy. The research was
carried out in collaboration with the Director of the University Museum of Bergen, Professor
Henrik von Achen, who is also the Senior Curator for the Coins and Medals collections. The
experimental work in this research component was designed to illustrate the way that the
materials analysis of cultural heritage objects provides information that increases our
understanding of the objects and contributes to their documentation, as well as informs the
decision making process for their conservation and long term preservation. By combining
complementary analytical techniques it was possible to identify different types of plated and
non-plated metal alloys used to produce the modern religious medals, and in particular
distinguish between the alloys used for the numerous white metal medals in the collection.
The information gained facilitates the inclusion of the modern religious medals in the online
catalogue of the coins and medals collections at the University Museum of Bergen. The second
research component consists of analysing the effects of cleaning treatments in metals
conservation using ESEM images and EDX analysis combined with pXRF analysis. The
experimental work was designed to provide a visual database or atlas of the effects of a range
of chemical and abrasive cleaning treatments on the surface of silver, copper, lead and iron
coupons. The ESEM-EDX analyses indicated that there were significant changes in the metal
surfaces after chemical cleaning treatments compared with the milder abrasive cleaning
treatments. The results demonstrated the importance of assessing the pH of chemical
solutions and the hardness of abrasive materials used in comparison with the hardness of the
metal being treated before carrying out irreversible treatments such as cleaning. This practical
end user information contributes to the decision making process for implementing appropriate
treatments in the conservation and long term preservation of cultural heritage objects with
metals components made of silver, copper, lead and iron and in particular historic objects.

Keywords:Cultural heritage management, Forensic science
Subjects:D Veterinary Sciences, Agriculture and related subjects > D445 Heritage Management
F Physical Sciences > F400 Forensic and Archaeological Science
Divisions:College of Science > School of Life Sciences
ID Code:23774
Deposited On:22 Aug 2016 08:31

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