Microscopic techniques to study mineral materials in cultural heritage

microscopy seminar MWS 2018

A workshop for the optimal use of polarized light microscopy and SEM to better understand archaeological and building materials.
jointly organized by the
University of Applied Arts Vienna
BDA - Federal Monuments Authority Austria
Technische Universität Dresden

University of Applied Arts Vienna, 1010 Vienna, Stubenring 3

Organizers and lecturers
Prof. Dr. Johannes Weber, petrographer, University of Applied Arts Vienna/Austria
Dr. Farkas Pintér, geologist, BDA Vienna/Austria
Dipl.-Geol. Thomas Köberle, geologist, TU Dresden/Germany
Guest lecturer: Simona Raneri Ph.D., geologist, University of Pisa/Italy


Background and aim of the Workshop
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 27 participants from 14 different countries. Lectures and discussions are in English. They will be jointly held by 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. Also, please bring your own samples!
Johannes Weber microscopy seminar MWS 2018