School of Historical and Philosophical Studies - Research Publications

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    Conservation and characterization of arabic papyrus in Egyptian National Library and Archives, Egypt
    Mohamed, A ; Nel, P ; Wahba, W ; Kamel, A ; Sloggett, R (IOP Publishing, 2020-11-10)
    An Ara bic Pa pyrus sheet stored a t the Egyptia n Na tiona l Libra ry a nd Archives wa s previously pla ced on unknown seconda ry support, a nd interlea ved between two gla ss sheets enclosed with a dhesive ta pe. This pa pyrus ha s various deteriora tion issues especia lly in the upper section where there is a la rge embedded sta in ca using the pa pyrus to stick to the secondary support a nd the gla ss sheet. Conserva tion trea tments conducted involved clea n ing, fibre a lignment a nd rehousing, scientific investiga tions including visible light microscopy, Fourier tra nsform infra red spectroscopy with a ttenua ted tota l reflecta nce (FTIR-ATR), a nd Sca nning Electron Microscopy with Energy Dispersive Spectrometry (SEM-EDS) were conducted to identify ma teria ls involved. A la ck of informa tion in the historica l records a bout the exca vation a nd previous conserva tion trea tments increa se the importa nce of the resea rch. The a na lysis showed tha t the seconda ry support is gela tine a nd Ara bic text wa s written in ca rbon ink. The gela tine support wa s successfully removed from the pa pyrus a nd the pa pyrus document wa s re - housed.
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    Identification of issues associated with finding polystyrene repairs on archaeological pottery
    NEL, P ; Noake, E ; Jones-Amin, H ; McKenna, E (International Council of Museums, 2014)
    At the University of Melbourne, an adhesive iden- tification survey using FTIR-ATR spectroscopy of 146 repaired Cypriot pottery vessels revealed polystyrene on five artefacts. This unexpected polystyrene finding raised concern about why it was present and how it may have contributed to the current condition of the vessels it was associ- ated with. Comprehensive analysis and mapping of polystyrene distribution on a vessel composed of 30 pieces revealed the adhesive to be present on numerous sherd edges, consistent with it being used as an adhesive. A new set of solvent param- eters was established for reversing brittle unstable conjoins of an adhesive not previously discussed or considered in ceramics conservation. These findings demonstrate the importance of accurate adhesive identification in planning successful treat- ments and the value of using portable analytical equipment for identifying adhesives otherwise not detectable using standard visual and ultraviolet fluorescence examination methods.
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    A preliminary comparative technical analysis of earth-based pigments used by Aboriginal artists from the Kimberley region and other natural, synthetic or commercial sources
    NEL, P ; Sloggett, R ; Casey, H ; Lau, D ; Hay, D ; Laird, J ; Ryan, C ; Bridgland, J (International Council of Museums, 2014)
    Developing non-destructive analytical methodologies for Indigenous Australian cultural heritage is of critical interest for art historians, curators, artists and conservators. Prompted by an observed increase in the number of Australian Aboriginal artworks with problematic provenance, highlighted in a ground-breaking authentication case, and technical questions raised by the need to treat flood damaged artworks, research was undertaken to determine the best methods for analysing ochrebased paints. As many Aboriginal paintings and artefacts are predominantly composed of earthbased pigments, samples of synthetic pigments and naturally occurring ochres were obtained from a range of commercial and geographic sources, including Australia’s East Kimberley region. A combined methodology based on particle induced xray emission (PIXE), Australian Synchrotron powder diffraction (AS-PD) and microscopy was developed to explore the ability of a complementary data set to differentiate between synthetic and natural earth-based pigments from Australian and overseas sources. In addition, such investigations will ultimately be used to generate a database of elemental, mineralogical and microscopy data with the aim of establishing provenance and informing conservation treatment approaches.
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