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DCH 422: Heritage Science in the Digital Age

Course Title

Heritage Science in the Digital Age

Course Code

DCH 422

Course Type




Year / Semester

1st / 1st (Subject to change)

Instructor’s Name

Thilo Rehren (Lead Instructor), Efthymia Nikita, Evi Margaritis, Michel Menu



Lectures / week

1 (1h)

Laboratories / week

1 (2h)

Course Purpose and Objectives

The course will look into the new discipline of heritage science from a critical perspective, detailing its main scientific challenges, research methodology, theory and practice. It will detail fundamentals in the characterization and interpretation of tangible heritage assets and works of art through chemical / physical measurements deriving from material sciences, organic and inorganic chemistry, physics and biology. Each method will be presented in detail, along with a critical analysis of cost-efficiency, invasiveness and contribution to advance the domain.

Learning Outcomes

Students will gain knowledge on key components and structure of research, how to choose the most suitable techniques and methods of inquiry for achieving the research goals and how to perform such research in a multi-disciplinary environment. At the end of the course students will be able to evaluate best natural sciences methods for the diagnostic, investigation, conservation and restoration of heritage assets and works of art.



 Requirements  -

Course Content

Definition of the subject area: heritage science, archaeological science and conservation science. Setting-up an analytical research protocol, using material sciences in heritage and archaeological investigation. Organic / inorganic chemistry for the diagnostics of works of art and heritage objects. Optical and Electron Microscopy as tools to document and decipher production, use and deterioration indicators. Micro-XRF, multi-spectral imaging and technical photography as complementary and integrated methods in heritage science.

Teaching Methodology

Lectures, laboratory work


  1. Strlič, Matija 2018. Heritage Science: A Future‐Oriented Cross‐Disciplinary Field. Angew Chemie Intern. Edition Introduction to Special Issue.
  2. Anglos, Demetrios 2017. Shedding light on the past: optical technologies applied to cultural heritage. Heritage Science vol. 5
  3. Cosentino, Antonino 2014. Identification of pigments by multispectral imaging; a flowchart method. Heritage Science vol. 2
  4. Goldstein, Joseph et al. (Eds) 2018. Scanning Electron Microscopy and X-Ray Microanalysis. Springer.
  5. Glascock, Michael et al. (Eds) 2007. Archaeological Chemistry. Analytical Techniques and Archaeological Interpretation. ACS Symposium Series 968.
  6. Henderson, Jane and Manti, Panagiota 2008. Improving access to collections for sampling. In: Conservation and Access, D. Saunders, J.H. Townsend and S. Woodcock (Eds), IIC, London.


75% exam; 25% coursework



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