The preservation and enhancement of cultural heritage, testimony of our past and economic resource for the present time, requires the knowledge of materials of artifacts, as well the development of new compounds, methods and conservation technologies. Geosciences have given and can make a relevant contribution to the study, preservation and enhancement of our cultural assets.
IGG has numerous instruments that allow the analysis of major and trace elements and isotopic characterization (EMPA, SIMS, LA-ICP-MS, PIXE, AFM, FRX, TIMS), crystallographic analysis (XRD), electron microscopy (SEM, SEM-EBSD, TEM) and spectroscopic analysis (FTIR, NMR, Raman, Moessbauer), the study of the causes of alteration of geomaterials (climate chamber equipped with UV lamps and acid gases).

The main research activities of this line include:

Archaeometric studies

  • Characterization of stone artifacts, paintings, metal, ceramic and glassy artifacts and identification of original materials;
  • Studies of provenance and / or production processes;
  • Identification of newly formed compounds (degradation products) or restoration materials;
  • Determination of the isotopic composition for dating studies or provenance.

Interaction of geomaterials with the environment

  • Set up of accelerated aging test for the simulation of the alteration causes of stone artifacts in their natural environment, and monitoring of the most significant parameters for the evaluation of the decay (eg. superficial cohesion, variation of the absorption of water);
  • Determination of the porosity of rocks and the kinetics of diffusion of water;
  • Validation of the efficiency and durability of conservative treatments in accelerated degradation conditions.

Design of new materials for the restoration and conservation

  • Design, synthesis and testing of new materials and new composites, including geopolymers, for the restoration and conservation of natural and artificial stone materials;
  • Formulation of new nano composites, based on nano silica (for the consolidation of degraded rocks) and TiO2 (for the protection of exposed surfaces).

Coordinator: Dr. Mara Camaiti (mara.camaiti(at)