Conservation Research Masthead

Current Projects


Individual Projects

Dr Cathy Daly

Climate Change Management

We are experiencing a period of climate change the extent and impact of which is uncertain. In the cultural heritage sector the need for monitoring to aid understanding is widely agreed yet there is a lack of consensus over what constitutes ‘monitoring for climate change’. This is due, at least in part, to the extended timescales involved. This research looks at the question of how heritage managers can assess the potential impacts of climate change on sites in their care, and how this can be utilised to aid adaptive management. As part of this work Dr Daly designed a sustainable Legacy Indicator Tool (LegIT) for the long term tracking of surface weathering effects on built heritage. The tool is currently being piloted on five heritage sites in Ireland.

Dr Melina Smirniou

Technological change and transmission in the Silk Road: A study of the early glass industry (British Academy) 

The research project explores the role of glass across the Silk Road within a broad chronological perspective examining how the invention of glass-making spread, how the technology transferred across Central Eurasia and how the regions along the route have connected and interacted through these long-distance networks.

Study of early Islamic glass from the site of Otrar, Kazakhstan (Rakow Grant of Glass Research)

The research project studies the use of glass at the site of Otrar, one of the most significant historical settlements in Kazakhstan situated on one of the main branches of the Silk Road focussing on the settlements of the 8th and 9th centuries.

Characterisation of early Roman glass from Eastern Thessaly (Greece)

Several glass fragments - including raw glass - were excavated in the important settlement Kastro-Palaia of Volos, Greece; a site that has continuous occupation since prehistoric times and is linked by researchers to the ancient city of Iolkos. By characterising the early Roman glass from the site of Kastro-Palaia, this study examines whether the glass was locally produced or was internationally traded and exchanged looking at similarities and differences on the various regional chemical signatures. The study further explores how the glass industry was shaped in the Greek mainland at the time and how technologies associated with glass production have transferred and adapted in the region.

An investigation of the effects of LED and Tungsten lighting to a contemporary paintings collection

Exposure to light is a major cause of damage to paintings which is cumulative and irreversible. Although the damaging effects to works of art from natural daylight exposure has been widely studied, the effects of artificial light sources now commonly available for museum and gallery lighting have not been fully explored. The main aim of the present study is to assess the long-term effects of light levels to which the contemporary paintings of the collection are presently exposed. This will enable the Care of Collections team to make informative decisions on the preventive measures they might need to take to protect the collection.

The use of integrated Imaging techniques for the investigation of mural paintings

The present study examines how integrated Reflectance Transformation Imaging (RTI) techniques can be used to examine and assess the technology and condition of mural paintings. Multispectral imaging and microscopic RTI are used to enhance surface topography and reveal details on mural paintings documenting the level of deterioration and to reveal finer details not typically visible with direct observation.

Dr Lynda Skipper

Paint and pigment analysis

This project involves the characterisation of historic pigments, relating to the English artist John Opie. Pigments from his paintbox, dated 1806, are being analysed to determine their chemical composition, in order to increase our understanding of historic artists materials, and add information about the artist and his use of pigments and colour.

Use of biocides in stone conservation

Biocides are used to kill / prevent growth of algae, fungi, bacteria and moulds on outdoor monuments and buildings. This study looks at the effectiveness of biocides in the conservation of limestone and other building materials. Specifically, research is aimed at understanding the effects of biocide use on the surface of stone, including the examination of surface texture and composition after treatment. This will help to inform choice of conservation treatments in the cleaning of historic buildings and monuments.