This volume is the first of a series on Physical Techniques in the Study of Art, Archaeology and Cultural Heritage. It follows a successful earlier publication by Elsevier (Radiation in Art and Archaeometry).
There has been an upsurge of interest world wide in cultural heritage issues, and in particular, large organizations such as UNESCO and the European Union are active in providing funding for a very diverse range of projects in cultural heritage preservation. It is perceived that it is essential to preserve the cultural heritage of societies, both to benefit the future generations of those societies, and to inform other cultures.
A growing need exists for the education of conservators and restorers because it is these professionals who will make decisions on how best to preserve our cultural heritage. This book series therefore has as its primary aim, the dissemination of technical information on scientific conservation to scientific conservators, museum curators, conservation science students, and other interested people.
Scientific conservation, as a discipline, is a comparatively modern concept. Interested scientists have for many years addressed scientific problems associated with cultural heritage artefacts. But their involvement has been sporadic and driven by the needs of individual museums, rather than a personal lifetime study of issues of conservation of for example, buildings, large functional objects, paintings, and so on.
In this book series contributors will come from both interested scientists and the museum-based scientists. The authors have been selected with an eye to involving young, and well as established, scientists.
Dr Jean Louis Boutaine, was Head of the Research Department of the Centre de Recherche et de Restauration des Musees de France at the Louvre. Dr Boutaine has had a most distinguished career within the conservation science community. He writes here on the concept of the Modern Museum.
Professor Casali is responsible for the teaching of Archaeometry at the University of Bologna. He has developed advanced equipment for both micro-Computer Tomography and for large-object Computer Tomography. His chapter deals with X-ray, neutron, and digital radiography as applied to the study of objects of cultural heritage significance.
Professor Tim Wess holds the Chair of Biomaterials in the Biophysics Division in the School of Optometry and Vision Science at Cardiff University. The systems in which he is interested contain collagen, fibrillin, and cellulose (which relate, in the cultural heritage discipline, to an interest in parchment and papers). A parallel interest is in the structure of bone and artificial composite materials (which relates to his interest in historical studies of bone materials). Chapter 3 will describe the techniques used to study alteration to structure of minerals in the bone. Preservation of intact bone mineral crystallites has been shown to relate to the endurance of amplifiable ancient DNA from archaeological and fossil bone. In collaboration with Drs K. Nielsen and Rene Larsen (School of Conservation, Copenhagen, Denmark) Tim Wess has analyzed the deterioration of historic parchments and also simulated ageing processes.
Chapter 5 has been written by Dr Andrew Hardy who began studying Middle Eastern eye cosmetics (kohls) in the early 1990's whilst working in Oman. He has continued this work at the Centre for Medical History, School of Historical, Political and Sociological Studies, Exeter University. The chapter summarizes and reviews the usage and composition of kohls in ancient (Pharaonic) Egypt. It also gives information, from later time periods, on kohl usage and its recipes, which have been studied using a wide range of experimental techniques.