Various campaigns for site investigation, scientific analysis and technical trials are carried out within the context of the Herculaneum Conservation Project. These aim to explore the conservation problems related to the archaeological material found in situ at Herculaneum. Initially some key issues were tackled by specialists within the team (for example, preliminary investigations of the decay of paint layers and carbonized wood), with support by external laboratories for diagnostic analyses. Later, our approach broadened into a series of collaborations with specialists and research institutes from Italy and around the world. Over time these collaborations have transformed into more fruitful partnerships and exchanges and many scientific activities have been transferred to the site itself.
A recent example is the ‘The 2009-2010 programme for trials and study days on remedial treatments of cohesion and adhesion failures in paint layers,’ which involves various external teams made up of conservation scientists working closely with conservator-restorers.
Below is a list of some of our current collaborations with external partners. In this context, priority is given to those partners who will be able to continue offering their support to the site’s conservation and to Vesuvian archaeology after the Herculaneum Conservation Project has finished, continuing to use Herculaneum as an open classroom.
- Courtauld Institute of Art (Sharon Cather) - Study of possible treatments for defects in paint layer adhesion and cohesion;
- Deutsches Archäeologisches Institut (Uwe Heussner and Pia Kastenmeier) - Dendrochronological research;
- Getty Conservation Institute (Giacomo Chiari, Leslie Rainer, David Carson, Beril Bicer-Simsir, Francesca Pique) - Scientific support through analytical investigations of specific conservation problems (GCI Herculaneum Project);
- Hochscule für Bildende Kunst (Christoph Herm) - Trials of nanolimes for the surface consolidation of wall paintings;
- Mauro Matteini - Trials of barium hydroxide and ammonium oxalate for surface consolidation of wall paintings;
- Pratt Institute (Eleonora Del Federico) and Rheinisch‐Westfaelische Technische Hochschule (Bernhard Blümich) - Non-destructive investigations with portable instruments: NMR, XRF, Raman, FTIR;
- Società Italiana di Biotecnologie - Identification of the bacterial colonies in the Suburban Baths;
- Università di Napoli “Federico II” (Gaetano di Pasquale) - Archaeobotanical and palynological research;
- Università di Siena (Claudio Rossi and Antonio Tognazzi) - Research and technical trials of consolidation methods;
- Università di Siena (Antonio Tognazzi), Università di Pisa (Maria Perla Colombini) and the Soprintendenza Archeologica per la Toscana (Gianna Giachi) - Research and technical trials for the conservation of the wood found on the ancient shoreline;
- Universiteit Utrecht (Freek Braadbaart) - Project for establishing the temperatures of pyroclastic flows on the basis of wood carbonization temperature;
- Universiteit Utrecht (Freek Braadbaart) with the Università di Napoli “Federico II” (Aldo Cinque) - Study of possible geological influences on wood carbonization;
- University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill (Anselmo Lastra) - Three-dimensional laser scanning of interior spaces;
- University of Southampton (Graeme Earl) and the University of Warwick - Application of 3D laser scanning and PTM to archaeology.