Laboratory Analyses and Conservation Report on Cultural Heritage

11 April 2021 - Cultural Heritage

The first step in the repair and restoration works carried out for the conservation of the cultural heritage is to determine its current situation with a detailed research and documentation study.

At this stage, the conservation report is prepared according to the scientific data obtained from the observations and examinations carried out by conservation specialists on-site and the laboratory analyses performed on the original material samples.

A conservation report consists of the following sections:

General information such as the project name, location etc.

Linking the samples to analytical surveys

Observational pre-definition of the samples

Representation of the data obtained from experiments and analyses with tables and graphics

Microscopic images and their interpretation

Comparative evaluation of experiments and analysis results

Recommendation of convenient methods, techniques, and materials

Maintenance recommendations 

A conservation report includes the stages of diagnosis, therapy, monitoring, and maintenance, respectively. The report includes various analyses such as characterization of original materials (stone, brick, mortar and plaster etc.), existing deteriorations’ types-depths-morphologies and determination of the factors that cause them, as well as recommendations on appropriate conservation methods (e.g., cleaning, consolidation, surface protection, and consolidation) -materials (e.g., repair mortars, plasters, surface protection, and consolidation materials) and maintenance following conservation science criteria.

The diagnosis stage is completed by supporting the first observational evaluations with data obtained from various analyses performed on-site and in the laboratory. The location and number of samples to be examined in the laboratory are determined based on initial observational evaluations. Taking enough number and quantity of material samples for laboratory tests and analyses is very important for an accurate evaluation. The test program to be conducted is determined according to the material properties and conservation status of the cultural property. The samples examined are subjected to various stages in the laboratory, from simple spot tests to advanced analyses in accordance with international standards such as EN, CEN, and scientific analyses and methods suggested in the conservation area literature. After all these diagnostic steps, conservation experts associate on-site observations with analytical research to reach general results by comparatively evaluating the data obtained from laboratory studies.

At the second stage of the conservation report, the appropriate protection techniques and materials required according to the results obtained from all the above-mentioned studies are determined. When necessary, the effectiveness of the recommended materials and techniques, and their compatibilities with the original materials are evaluated by various laboratory studies. In this way,  long-lasting and effective protection is provided by preventing the use of incompatible materials and faulty applications in conservation interventions. 

At the final stage, the monitoring and maintenance process is planned and thanks to all these stages, a comprehensive road map based on scientific studies can be obtained. Thus, the conservation report makes it possible to control the compatibility of techniques and materials to be used in repairs and restorations with the original structure at a material scale.

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