3rd March 2005

 

ANCIENT MONUMENTS UNDER ATTACK

 

Ancient monuments are under attack – not from pollution or freak weather but from tiny organisms known as lichens.

 

In the latest in the series of public lectures presented by the Lincoln Academy Mark Seaward, Visiting Professor of Conservation Biology at the University of Lincoln, will discuss the biodeterioration of ancient monuments caused by lichens.

 

Lichens are part-fungus, part-alga and can often be seen as a grey, green or yellow tint on rocks, walls and roofs.

 

In his lecture next Tuesday (8th March 2005) Professor Seaward will look at the role lichens play in shaping the natural world, describing new research which shows that lichens are capable of biodeteriorating stone substrata within a relatively short time.

 

After death lichens leave an obvious encrustation on surfaces such as roofs and walls, disfigurements which in the past have been interpreted as inorganic residues resulting from earlier renovations, atmospheric pollution or climatic weathering.

 

“Human-influenced environments appear to be conducive to many species exhibiting this aggressive behaviour and the damaging effects on monuments subjected to this type of biodeterioration should give grave concern to archaeologists and conservators of our cultural heritage,” says Professor Seaward.

 

Mark Seaward is Professor of Environmental Biology at the University of Bradford and a Visiting Professor at the University of Lincoln. He has been Director of the British Lichen Society’s Mapping Scheme since 1963, was its president from 1982-83 and has been an honorary member since 1993.

 

Registration and refreshments are from 5.30pm and the lecture will begin at 6pm in lecture theatre AR0107 in the Lincoln School of Architecture at Brayford Pool.

 

Admission is free and no prior knowledge of the subject is required.

 

To book a place contact Carol Gardiner on Lincoln 886106 or email cgardiner@lincoln.ac.uk

 

For more information contact:

Jez Ashberry, Press and Media Relations Manager

01522 886042                         jashberry@lincoln.ac.uk

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