1. Handbook
  2. Subjects
  3. Analytical Science in Conservation

Analytical Science in Conservation (CUMC90031)

Graduate courseworkPoints: 12.5On Campus (Parkville)

You’re viewing the 2019 Handbook:
Or view archived Handbooks


Year of offer2019
Subject levelGraduate coursework
Subject codeCUMC90031
FeesSubject EFTSL, Level, Discipline & Census Date

This subject aims to provide students with an introduction to the fundamental principles and practical applications of the major analytical techniques used in cultural materials conservation. The subject builds upon the students' knowledge gained in CUMC90032 Technical Examination and Documentation, and CUMC90033 Cultural Materials Conservation Science. It covers methods accessible in a conservation laboratory and instrumental methods based upon:

  • Microscopy (visible and SEM);
  • Atomic spectroscopy (SEM-EDS, XRF and XRD;
  • Molecular spectroscopy (FTIR and Raman); and
  • Chromatography (GC-MS and HPLC).

Students learn to devise appropriate testing regimes, acquire control samples, prepare samples (eg. cross section), undertake analysis and manage analytical data. Students will gain an understanding of the practical application of a range of analytical techniques (including their advantages and disadvantages, their sampling requirements, and whether the sample is destroyed) and the interpretation of results. Students will apply fundamental examination and analytical techniques to the study of:

  • One focus object, which students will select and work on as a group. Each group will investigate either a painting, paper or object based artefact.
  • A variety of cultural heritage objects composed of organic, inorganic or metallic materials.

Intended learning outcomes

Upon completion of this subject students should:

  • Understand the role and practical application of analysis and analytical methods in conservation.
  • Demonstrate an understanding of the scientific research process.
  • Synthesize conducting a non-invasive examination of a cultural heritage object, framing a research question, analysing and evaluating research literature, determining an analytical pathway, preparing samples for analysis, selecting appropriate analytical methods, and assessing the limitations of results obtained.

Last updated: 3 June 2019