Institute of Crystallography - CNR

Cultural Heritage

Study of interest materials for cultural heritage using non-destructive and non-invasive analytical and imaging techniques based on X-ray and UV-VIS-IR radiation to support the study and conservation of historical and artistic artifacts.

The research activity focuses on studying historic and artistic artifacts, to identify their state of preservation, the execution techniques, and their material and for forensic purposes.
The analytical and imaging methods used are non-invasive and non-destructive, and they are based on X- and UV-VIS-IR radiation. Radiation X: XRF (elements identification), XRPD (qualitative crystalline phases’ identification), X-ray (visualization of hidden structures). UV-VIS-IR radiation: UV-induced fluorescence imaging (identification of undocumented restorations), microphotography in the visible with a stereoscopic microscope and focus-stacking image reconstruction, IR reflectometry (revelation of preparatory drawings and afterthoughts on polychrome works).
Artifacts come in a wide variety of shapes and sizes, and often cannot be moved and samples cannot be taken. In these cases, it is essential to carry out measurements in situ with portable instrumentation that can be easily adapted to the case study.
In cooperation with Prof. Marcello Colapietro, it is possible to perform numerous in situ analyses by adapting the available instrumentation. The results of the analyses are interpreted and discussed with archaeologists, art historians and restorers.

Reference works

– O.Tarquini, L.Pronti, E.G.Lorenzetti, A. C. Felici Pigment identification on Campana reliefs from the Palatine Hill and Colosseum Valley in Rome. Journal of Cultural Heritage
– V. Forte; O. Tarquini; M. Botticelli; L. Medeghini The technology of Copper Age funerary pottery from central Italy: an integrated study of compositional analyses and manufacturing traces – Archaeometry (

Principal Researcher
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