22 - 24 January 2020

Studies of ancient materials are more and more frequent at the ESRF. Samples can be sorted in two classes: non-manufactured (natural) and manufactured (synthetic). Research in palaeontology falls in the first class while studies in art fall in the second, and archaeology in both. Typical questions and the scientific approach are different. For the former, fundamental questions usually tackle the evolution of life on all time scales: over days (e.g. embryo development), over months-years (e.g. evolution from child to adult), over centuries-millenia (e.g. species domestication), over million to billion years (evolution of life). Experiments mainly exploit imaging (in particular µCT) to probe non-destructively the inner structure of materials and deduce information about the functioning and evolution of organs and organisms. For the latter, some questions tackle either the past of objects (what were the manufacturing processes used to produce the individual ingredients and the final artwork and how did these technologies evolve in time and space?) while other questions tackle the evolution/degradation of objects (what are the degradation products made of and how do they form? What are the factors (light, temperature, humidity…) contributing to these degradations?). In this case, analytical techniques (X-ray fluorescence (XRF), X-ray diffraction (XRD), X-ray absorption spectroscopy (XAS)) are generally exploited to reveal the chemical composition of complex materials. The limited size of samples and their high heterogeneity usually implies performing these analyses using micro- and nano-beams.

More information here: http://www.esrf.eu/heritage-workshop

This conference has already taken place: See the conference report.