Filling the Gaps #8 Improving practice in the assessment and monitoring of state

The eighth Filling the Gaps survey focuses on improving practice in the assessment and monitoring of the condition of historic and archaeological material.

The National Heritage Strategy evidence report identified the following gaps in research:

  1. Further development of existing, new and increasingly portable methods, including:
    • increasing the range of NDT (non-destructive testing) methods of organic analysis, for example characterisation of organic dyes and binders
    • further development of NDT systems to assess condition (such as analysis of state of deterioration of iron gall inks)
    • new NDT methods to look at changes in colour of pigments and dyes
    • increasing the use of laser scanning for conservation reporting (i.e. 2D/3D surface mapping for condition analysis)
    • using GIS and digital images to map and monitor biofilm development on buildings
    • transfer of techniques used in collections assessment to assess the preservation of archaeological remains
    • improving condition assessment of organic component of archaeological bones
    • further development of acoustic characterisation of deterioration state of in situ marine archaeological wood
    • further development of volatile organic compound detection equipment
  2. The development of new tools, such as:
    • cumulative light exposure dosimeters with read outs
    • RH monitors/paper which responds when critical levels are breached (for use in storage boxes for archaeological iron for example)
    • simple pollution monitors, including for volatile organic compounds (VOCs)
    • continued development of methods for monitoring dust
    • improved range of NDT methods for assessing moisture and moisture movements in walls
    • non-intrusive assessment of concrete and reinforcement corrosion
    • protocols for use and data collection
    • standardisation of tools and better provision of advice
    • development of methods of object-based monitoring systems for archaeological sites, i.e. rods with iron coupons that can be buried then removed at intervals to assess redox levels
    • in situ monitoring of degradation products such as carbon dioxide and methane as guide to decay rates of organic archaeological deposits
    • improved monitoring techniques for maritime sites.

As before, we are seeking contributors to add any information possible on research – published or unpublished, completed or ongoing – that has been carried out since 2009 addressing these topics.

If you think you can help, please complete our survey form, and don’t hesitate to share the link: the more information you can provide, the more useful a resource we can create!

Many thanks

National Heritage Science Forum

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