International Journal of Conservation Science

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Volume 7, Special Issue 1, 2016

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Selected articles presented at
Green Conservation of Cultural Heritage
International Workshop

Rome, 27th – 28th of October 2015

Guest Editors:
Andrea MACCHIA, Loredana LUVIDI, Fernanda PRESTILEO,
Mauro F. LA RUSSA and Sivestro Antonio RUFFOLO


[ cover page ]

E. Balliana, G. Ricci, C. Pesce, E. Zendri

Assessing the Value of Green Conservation for Cultural Heritage: Positive and Critical Aspects of Already Available Methodologies

[ Abstract ]
[ Full Article - PDF ]                  pp. 185-202
In recent years, the use and the necessity of green materials and methodologies have been promoted in the field of cultural heritage, aiming to a low impact on the operator health and the environment. For a long time, in restoration and conservation science, the main goal was searching for the most compatible solutions with the materials of the artefacts not thinking sometimes about the possible issues for the operator and/or for the environment. Recently, thanks also to an increasing attention to a respectful consumption of environmental resources and waste management, new scientific methodologies have been proposed for more sustainable and green interventions, promoting furthermore the concept of preventive conservation. The aim of this work is to present an overview about some of the most interesting technologies and methodologies already available as alternative to traditional and more invasive/dangerous restoration treatments towards artefact, operators and environment. In particular, the methods described in this paper have been critically analysed focusing on which might be the positive and negative points considering the convenience of use by the restorers and the reasons why these methods are still not well known and diffused.

Keywords:Eco-compatibility; Cultural heritage; Risk-assessment; Human health.


F. Fratini, D. Pittaluga

Sustainability of Architectonic Conservation Yards in Environmental Protected Areas: The Case of the Zenobito Tower in Capraia Island

[ Abstract ]
[ Full Article - PDF ]                  pp. 203-212
The issues addressed in the restoration project for Zénobito’s Tower, in Capraia island, are a stimulus for a broader debate on sustainability of architectural preservation interventions in delicate environmental contexts inside protected areas. As a matter of fact the preservation intervention on the tower and the absolute preservation of the environmental context impose a severity rarely practiced, even in restoration. The tower is three and half hours walking distance from the village, in a wilderness area where in some periods even walking is forbidden, due to protection of nesting birds. The sea in front of it is a marine protected reserve, with severe limits on access by boat. The authors set the goals of the projects for restoration of this heritage as material conservation of the tower; minimal intervention; reversibility or retractability; usage of eco-friendly materials. All this led to a serious reflection and a careful evaluation of every factor that may have an impact on the environment. This paper includes a theoretical discussion, puts several questions and suggests guidelines that should be valid in all similar situations.

Keywords:Cultural and natural heritage; Restoration; Material for preservation interventions; Minimal intervention; Protected areas; Eco-friendly materials.


L. Pujia

Cultural Heritage and Territory. Architectural Tools for a Sustainable Conservation of Cultural Landscape

[ Abstract ]
[ Full Article - PDF ]                  pp. 213-218
The Cultural Heritage rules state that “the preservation and the enhancement of the cultural heritage contribute to strengthen the memory of the national community and of its territory” and in this context the cultural path tries to re-contextualize — unlike the “musealization” — the relationships among materials and immaterial values, that got lost and belonged to the cultural landscape. The paper is based on the concept of “cultural landscape” in reference to the urban and territorial changes; in order to understand the identity meaning is fundamental to know the history and the places change and finding an underlying theme in the sparse traces of the heritage that is a project subject to understand and make territories readable. The interpretation of Europe as a common property can lie in an international field research aimed at finding common languages inside a wide territorial framework. The device of the cultural landscape is often an abstract context connected to the tourist development; in this case the identity of a place is strengthened by immaterial aspects — the popular traditions — more than its physical and spatial aspects. This research takes from the beginning the design point of view as a field of investigation. The paper would investigate about the relationship between the architecture of the path and the territory, by prefiguring new design scenarios for the widespread and hidden cultural landscape. In the research, the cultural path is considered as a design device that can make a place understood by the territory arrangement; the cultural path is investigated in the physical and material features proper of Architecture. Many contributions of History of Architecture are useful to create a planning framework for those who work in this field. The study wants to address the future planning proposals of cultural paths towards true consequences belonging to the architectural subject.

Keywords:Architecture; Heritage; Landscape; Cultural route; Path; Territory.


M. Yoshida, Z. Giertlova, S. Kirnberger

Trend Colour’ Green’ in Cultural Heritage: Simulation Games for Introducing and Living the Green Change in Museums

[ Abstract ]
[ Full Article - PDF ]                  pp. 219-226
Museums, preservation strategies and conservation methods need to be ‘green’ as ecologic and economic aspects have become a much-noticed issue in cultural heritage care. Implementing successfully “green” and “sustainable” concepts over the long term is a matter of decisions and consensus achieved within an organization. Museum staffs need to respond to changing circumstances by integrating security awareness and behavior in their daily museum work. In individually modeled scenarios participants undergo complex and challenging situations and learn how to cooperate with each other and to develop solution strategies. Two case examples of simulation games implemented for museum staff show a motivating and activating effect on the participants. These positive experiences and sense of achievement gained in the simulation game is a basic prerequisite for an internally induced change to a “green” working culture. If we assume that preventive conservation conforms to what we understand as “green” conservation we will be frequently confronted with conflicting goals as preventive conservation concerns different levels and divisions within an organization. Simulation games specifically adapted to museum needs are an appropriate method to strengthen team structure and internal communication. Utilizing simulation methods helps to break down barriers.

Keywords:Simulation games; Emergency preparedness; Preventive conservation.


E. Marin, C. Vaccaro, M. Leis

Biotechnology Applied to Historic Stoneworks Conservation: Testing the Potential Harmfulness of two Biological Biocides

[ Abstract ]
[ Full Article - PDF ]                  pp. 227-238
Within restoration practices, the biodeterioration is a common and hard problem, in particular on historic stonework conservation, where, together with weathering actions, enlarge porosity and increase the decay. The chemical action with biocides is the more used method to remove biological patina on monumental stone but, during the time, that approach reveal hazardous environmental and health impacts. In recent time, innovative biotechnology methods have been developed but used only to a minor extent; that is due to the less information about the interaction of the new products with stone material. The aim of the research is to propose innovative and safe bio cleaning products for historic stonework conservation and define the level of security in the interaction with stone material. The two biological biocides, that has not been investigated previously, are Natria, a Bayer products based on pelargonic acid, and New FloorCleaner, based on Bacillus species. The specimens for our research are made up from an historical stone material (earlier twenty century handmade bricks) and we used the Normal UNI 11551-1:2014, the European protocol for the evaluation of a cleaning method in the Cultural Heritage. Our results show that biocleaning products are harmless: overall, the research demonstrates the opportunity to use these products in the conservation field, for the treatment of biological patina of historical brick, because do not highlight problems and damages and are environmentally sustainable.

Keywords:Historic stonework; Preservation and Restoration; Pelargonic acid; Bacillus species; biological biocides.


F. Palla, G. Barresi, A. Giordano, S. Schiavone, M.R. Trapani, V. Rotolo, M.G. Parisi, M. Cammarata

Cold-Active Molecules for a Sustainable Preservation and Restoration of Historic-Artistic Manufacts

[ Abstract ]
[ Full Article - PDF ]                  pp. 239-246
In the last decades biotechnology research provides sustainable alternatives to traditional procedures for preventive preservation of cultural assets. Recently, bioactive molecules (BMs) isolated from marine invertebrate organisms have been isolated and tested for bioremoval of protein layers (BMP) or to controlling microbial colonization (BMA), acting at temperature lower than 30°C. The Protease or Antimicrobial activity was tested on ad hoc assembled specimens and on different historic-artistic manufacts. In bio-removing protocol BMP molecules were applied as gelled solutions, in order to guarantees a selective action, respectful of constitutive materials and manufact integrity. Peculiarity of Protease bioactive molecules is the temperature of action, lower than 30°C. Instead, BMAs molecules have been tested to control bacteria and fungi colonization in laboratory specimens. In our hypothesis these novel molecules provide an important contribution to the development of innovative protocols safe both for the environment and conservator health, representing a valid alternative to traditional methods according to the preventive conservation and "Minimal Intervention" concept in restoration procedures.

Keywords:Biodeterioration; Biodegradation; Biocleaning; Protease; Antimicrobial molecules; Risk assessment


R. Caminiti, L. Campanella, S.H. Plattner, E. Scarpellini

Effects of Innovative Green Chemical Treatments on Paper. Can They Help in Preservation?

[ Abstract ]
[ Full Article - PDF ]                  pp. 247-258
Increasing attention is paid to sustainability in conservation. Among all the kinds of objects those ones made of paper (e.g. documents, books, artworks) present the important problem of their increasing brittleness due to the inherently acid nature of many modern papers; research for sustainable restoration materials and methods in this field is particularly needed. Our contribution relies in the preparation of innovative materials and in the exploitation of their effects on paper for application in restoration. A research line regards paper consolidation and we extracted and tested the polysaccharide fraction from the cyanobacterium Arthrospira maxima for this purpose. Another research approach focuses on green ionic liquids; these not-toxic compounds, which can help in cleaning operations, are synthesized and their effect on paper explored; here a cholin-glycine based one is considered. Testing was carried out on plain paper samples (pure cellulose) subjected to accelerated aging (dry heat at 105°C) in order to consider stress response of treated samples. Treatment effects were evaluated with regard to pH and colour changes, FTIR spectra and mechanical behavior (folding endurance). While this latter gave interesting contrasting responses to that one by ionic liquid treatment, clear positive results were obtained for restoration with the polysaccharide extract.

Keywords:Paper; Cleaning; Consolidation; Ionic liquid; Cholin-glycine; Polysaccharide extract; Arthrospira maxima


A. Zacharopoulou, G. Batis, V. Argyropoulou, E. Guilminot

The Testing of Natural Corrosion Inhibitors Cysteine and Mature Tobacco for Treating Marine Composite Objects in PEG400 Solutions

[ Abstract ]
[ Full Article - PDF ]                  pp. 259-264
The paper presents the testing of two nontoxic corrosion inhibitors for treatments of marine metal composite artefacts in Polyethylene Glycol (PEG) 400 solutions. The effectiveness of L-cysteine and mature tobacco to slow down the corrosion of copper and iron alloys during PEG400 treatments was investigated using electrochemical techniques. Potentiodynamic polarization measurements were carried out on polished wrought iron and brass metal samples taken from the 1868 shipwreck ‘Patris’ in 20% (v/v) PEG400 in deionized water with and without each corrosion inhibitor. L-Cysteine was found at a concentration of 1% (w/v) to act as a cathodic corrosion inhibitor for brass in 20% (v/v) PEG400 solutions, passivating the metal between -0.4V and -0.2V vs. SSE. Mature tobacco was found not to act as corrosion inhibitor for wrought iron at 1% (w/v) in 20% (v/v) PEG400 solutions, and more research is needed to find a derivative of this type of corrosion inhibitor to improve its corrosion inhibition efficiency at near-neutral pHs.

Keywords:Nontoxic corrosion inhibitor; L-Cysteine; Mature tobacco; PEG400; Metal composite artifacts.


M. Silva, C. Salvador, M.F. Candeias, D. Teixeira, A. Candeias, A.T. Caldeira

Toxicological Assessment of Novel Green Biocides for Cultural Heritage

[ Abstract ]
[ Full Article - PDF ]                  pp. 265-272
The damaging of buildings and monuments by biological contamination is a cause of serious concern. Biocides based on chemical toxic compounds have been used to mitigate this problem. However, in the past decade many of the most effective biocides have been banned due to their environmental and health hazards. Therefore, proper remediation actions for microbiologically contaminated historic materials based on environmentally safe solution is of vital importance. Bacillus species are emerging as a promising alternative for built heritage treatment. They produce a great diversity of secondary metabolites with biological activity, well known to possess antagonistic activities against many fungal pathogens. In order to evaluate the antifungal activity of the novel biocides produced in our laboratory by cultures of selected bacterial strains, liquid interaction assays using four biodeteriogenic fungi were achieved, revealing a nearly 100% of inhibitory capacity to fungal proliferation. To confirm their effective safe toxicological properties, in vivo tests using two different biological models were performed. The lyophilized supernatant of the Bacillus culture broth showed no lethality against brine shrimp and also no toxicological effects in Swiss mice through administration of acute dose of 5000 mg/kg by oral gavage. In fact, the bioactive compounds were no lethal at the tested dose unlike Preventol® (commercial biocide) that induced acute toxicity with 10 times minor concentration dose administrated in the same conditions. Therefore, the new bioactive compounds that suppress growth of biodeteriogenic fungi on historical artworks, presenting at the same time no toxicity against other living organisms, constituting an efficient and green safe solution for biodegradation/biodeterioration treatment of Cultural Heritage.

Keywords:Bacillus sp.; Biodegradation/biodeterioration; Bioactive compounds; Biocides; Toxicity


G. Petrella, C. Mazzuca, L. Micheli, E. Cervelli, D. De Fazio, S. Iannuccelli, S. Sotgiu, G. Palleschi, A. Palleschi

A New Sustainable and Innovative Work For Paper Artworks Cleaning Process: Gellan Hydrogel Combined With Hydrolytic Enzymes

[ Abstract ]
[ Full Article - PDF ]                  pp. 273-280
Paper has been used as writing and drawing support for thousands of years. The conservation of paper artworks plays a fundamental role in the field of our cultural heritage. Moreover, restoration of paper artworks is difficult due to their inherent fragility, the presence of many components and their degradation state. Among the factors that may contribute to paper deterioration are the use of glue for the application of different materials (as a lining, mounting or as a repair intervention) on the paper artifact. During a natural ageing process, glue become yellow, acid and less compact, accelerating the degradation processes of the artwork itself. The removal of glues from paper artworks represents, therefore, an important procedure for their preservation. Here we present a sustainable alternative to the common removal systems (e.g. solvents or localized enzymatic packs on the support to be cleaned). For this goal we used a rigid Gellan hydrogel (totally removable in one step) containing hydrolytic enzyme, such as proteinase K. The enzyme works as a selective cleaning agent hydrolyzing animal glues into smaller fragments, soluble into the gel. Our system represents an effective alternative to the traditional techniques because it is easy to be prepared, eco-friendly and efficient.

Keywords:Enzymatic Gellan gel; Glue; Paper artworks; Cultural heritage


C. Riminesi, R. Olmi

Localized Microwave Heating for Controlling Biodeteriogens on Cultural Heritage Assets

[ Abstract ]
[ Full Article - PDF ]                  pp. 281-294
Microwave heating to control biotic agents has already been applied in several fields, in particular in the agri-food and manufacturing industries. We applied localized microwave heating at 2.45 GHz to treat biotic agents infesting wooden artifacts and stone artifacts of interest for the cultural heritage. Compared to conventional techniques and other physical methods microwave heating is safe and pollution-free. In fact, compared to biocides and mechanical removal it has a low-interaction with the material thanks to its selective action. In addition, treatment extension, color-independence, penetration depth are enhanced with respect to treatments via thermal radiation, UV, gamma rays and laser cleaning. Thus localized microwave heating treatments can be an effective alternative for controlling the development of biodeteriogens. Using microwave heating to kill micro-organisms and to prevent microbial deterioration avoids the use of the chemical formulates with biocidal action that are usually applied (before and after cleaning ). The use of chemical products has recently been reviewed the European Union’s Biocidal Products in order to limit the risks to the substrate and the operator, to decrease environmental pollution and to prevent the possible selection of microorganisms that are resistant to the most common biocides. We present various applications of localized microwave heating to combat biotic agent growth within wooden artifacts and on the surfaces of stone artifacts. The effectiveness of the method was studied in relation to the characteristics of the microwave system (i.e. the operative conditions, frequency, power, time and temperature of exposure), the type of biological agents infesting the support/material, and the type of support/material itself.

Keywords:Microwave heating; Localized treatment; Green conservation; Biological patina; Stone; Wooden artworks


F. Tscherne, N. Wilke, B. Schachenhofer, K. Roux, G. Tavlaridis

The Thermo Lignum Ecological Insect Pest Eradication Process: The Effects on Gilded and Painted Wooden Objects

[ Abstract ]
[ Full Article - PDF ]                  pp. 295-300
The present research study investigates the effects of a humidity controlled warm air treatment with the Thermo Lignum Process on gilded and painted wooden objects. The Thermo Lignum Process is an ecological and object-sensitive technique to combat insect infestations. The method only involves humidified warm air. It is founded on the established principle that most insects are reliably killed in all their life cycle stages at temperatures between 48 – 55°C depending on species. The infested objects are warmed up in a chamber to a maximum temperature of 51-58ºC. Throughout this treatment the air humidity is controlled in such a way that the EMC (equilibrium moisture content) in an object remains unchanged throughout the process. The typical chamber treatment cycle takes between 16 – 24 hours. The objects prepared for the study were examined before and after treatment by means of light microscopy, scanning electron microscopy and color measurements. Additionally investigations on potential distortion and adhesiveness to the substrates were carried out. In order to achieve the most comprehensive and meaningful result, the trial was carried out with three different groups of objects. Object group 1 consisted exclusively of samples of the binding agents most commonly used in historic finishes. Object group 2 included several newly applied finish layers, whilst Object group 3 comprised historical objects with different finishes belonging to a variety of style periods.

Keywords:Thermo lignum process; Pest eradication; Polychromatic objects; Gilded objects; Painted objects; Wooden materials; Equilibrium moisture content; Keylwerth diagram; Insect pest control;


C. Frasconi, M. Fontanelli, L. Martelloni, M. Pirchio, M. Raffaelli, A. Peruzzi

Thermal Weed Control on Horizontal and Vertical Surfaces in Archaeological Sites as an Alternative to Herbicides

[ Abstract ]
[ Full Article - PDF ]                  pp. 301-310
Flaming could be an alternative weed management at archaeological sites because it controls a wide range of weed species without inducting future resistance. The aim of this study was to test the weed control efficiency of flaming on various horizontal and vertical surfaces of archaeological buildings. Working times and costs were recorded. Flaming performances were compared to the normal herbicide treatments and mowing. Results showed that repeated flaming reduced weed cover by 100%. Working times and total costs decreased by increasing the number of applications over time. This is because the repeated flaming applications deplete the weed root stocks, thus keeping the mortar between the stones or bricks and the building materials free from weeds and their seeds for a long time. The method involved zero toxicity for humans and animals, thus providing safe accessibility to the archaeological buildings and visitor pathways. The application of flaming did not cause any damage or change of colour to the treated materials, although specific, multidisciplinary studies on this subject will have to be conducted in the next future, in order to exclude any negative effect on the remains. The results of these studies showed that flaming is a viable alternative for controlling weeds growing on archaeological surfaces.

Keywords:Archaeological remains; Flaming; Historical buildings; Non-chemical; Monuments; Weed control.


L. Luvidi, A.M. Mecchi, M. Ferretti, G. Sidoti

Treatments with Self-Cleaning Products for the Maintenance and Conservation of Stone Surfaces

[ Abstract ]
[ Full Article - PDF ]                  pp. 311-322
Cleaning stone surfaces is a crucial issue as irreversible and potentially harmful for the stone itself. Inadequate interventions might cause damage also visible over the time. Moreover they often have to be repeated, especially in urban areas, where the surfaces are more subjected to dusts deposition and pollution alterations. In order to reduce the need for cleaning, TiO2-based treatments have been proposed for their self-cleaning, depollution and antibacterial properties. These products are currently used to coat the outdoor surfaces of buildings but little experience has so far been made in the field of Cultural Heritage. This paper concerns the experiments carried out to evaluate efficiency, durability and harmfulness of three different TiO2-based products, either in form of nanoparticles or mixed with hydrophobic polymers, used to treat three carbonatic stones. A polydimethylsiloxane as reference polymer was used. Specimens of these stones were exposed to an urban polluted outdoor environment for eight months. The specimens were investigated by colorimetric measurements, surface observations and X-ray microanalyses by electron microscopy, contact angle measurements, Rhodamine tests, ion chromatography measurements and elemental analyses by X-ray fluorescence. The results showed that the photocatalytic products have a mild self-cleaning effect depending on the stone and tend to be easily washed away by the rain.

Keywords:Photocatalytic product; TiO2-based product; Self-cleaning effect; Stone treatment; Maintenance


A. Macchia, S.A. Ruffolo, L. Rivaroli, M.F. La Russa

The Treatment of Iron-stained Marble: Toward a “Green” Solution

[ Abstract ]
[ Full Article - PDF ]                  pp. 323-332
In the field of stone restoration, an unresolved issue is represented by the removal of iron stains from stone substrates. This study deals with a comparative study of the efficacy of several formulations in removing iron-stains from marble. These formulations are mostly based on chelating agents (ammonium thioglycolate, ammonium citrate, L-cysteine and DL methionine), which can form stable complexes with iron. Two sets of experiments have been carried out. Powdered calcium carbonate has been mixed with ferric hydroxide, then the mixture has been put in contact with the formulations, then the amount of removed iron has been evaluated. Another experimentation has been carried out on marble specimens artificially stained with rust. Removing tests have been performed, and their efficiency has been evaluated by measuring the colorimetric variations of the surfaces and the variation of the porous structure. The use of cysteine together with sodium dithionite solution showed the best results; moreover this formulation is the most eco-friendly solution, both for the restores and for the environment.

Keywords:Iron stains revmoval; Stained marble; Chelating agents; Ammonium thioglycolate; Ammonium citrate; L-cysteine; DL methionine


M. Sgobbi, L. Falchi, F.C. Izzo, M. Zuena, E. Zendri

Evaluation of Eco-Compatible Methodologies to Clean Stone Surfaces Polluted by Oil Spill

[ Abstract ]
[ Full Article - PDF ]                  pp. 333-348
This research concerns the structuring of a suitable method for the removal of oil (Fuel Oil 120 cSt) from traditional bricks and Istrian Stone, materials commonly found amongst embankments and buildings of North Adriatic coastal cities. A cleaning protocol, based upon non-toxic products, was developed in consideration of its compatibility with historical, architectural surfaces. The contamination effects of oil on Istrian stone and fired clay bricks was studied, followed by a range of cleaning treatments using bulk sorbents, surfactant solutions and N,N-dimethyl-octanamide. The application was executed using the products singularly, combined or in succession. The succession of sorbent, solvent and surfactant solution demonstrated good capability of removal and was then applied on macrosamples of brick masonry showing good results.

Keywords:Oil spill; Historic materials; Bio-degradable; Compatible; Environment safeguard


M. Munteanu, I. Sandu, V. Vasilache, I.C.A. Sandu

Disadvantages of Using Some Polymers in Restoration of Old Icons on Wooden Panels

[ Abstract ]
[ Full Article - PDF ]                  pp. 349-356
The present paper presents some disadvantages of using acrylic polymers in the restoration of old icons on wooden panels. Two acrylic polymers were taken into study: Paraloid B72 and Paraloid B67. These two acrylic polymers were chosen for several reasons, being well known and used by the majority of the restorers’ community, due to their dissolution properties and availability. The two acrylic polymers were used to consolidate samples of old wood (2x2x1cm). The samples were taken from heavily degraded wooden panels which would not undergo restoration. The three samples of lime-tree and three samples of oak-tree were then consolidated each with three different polymeric solutions. In order to determine the way that this type of consolidation can influence the wood and the disadvantages of using these acrylic polymers, the following analytical techniques were used: optical microscopy (OM), CIEL*a*b* colorimetry and scanning electron microscopy (SEM).

Keywords:Acrylic polymers; Consolidation; Disadvantages; Old icons; Wooden panels


R. Karadag, E. Torgan

Advantages and Importance of Natural Dyes in the Restoration of Textile Cultural Heritage

[ Abstract ]
[ Full Article - PDF ]                  pp. 357-366
Identification of an art object material of cultural heritage had received significant attention, because of its importance for the development of appropriate restoration and conservation strategies. In this paper, optical microscopy, CIE L*a*b* spectrophotometer/colorimeter, scanning electron microscopy (SEM) coupled to energy dispersive X-ray (EDX) spectroscopy and high performance liquid chromatography coupled to diode-array-detection (HPLC-DAD) are used to investigate many historical textiles samples in some museums.

Keywords:Natural dyes; Restoration; Cultural heritage; HPLC-DAD; SEM-EDX; Colour measurements


Publication date 30.04.2016     


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