Heritage Preservation Guidance
Conservation at Cardiff
Heritage preservation has a long history at Cardiff University where there has been a centre for the training of conservators since 1975. Currently developing a cohort of around 50 undergraduate and postgraduate conservators and collections care professionals, this prestigious teaching institution is complemented by a strong research team which generates knowledge and understanding of decay and preservation processes based on experimental science. This research group sits within the Archaeology and Conservation Section of the School of History, Archaeology & Religion. Our colleagues in other research clusters have expertise across archaeology, heritage science and conservation theory and practice. You can read more about their work here.
As trained conservators, we know the frustrations of wondering what is the best course of action for preserving our material heritage. Despite many decades of research in the sector, conservation is far from having all the answers and every artefact presents a unique challenge to our understanding. Working as part of an international community of scientists, we aim to shed light on some of the many unknowns in the preservation of heritage.
Our research supports those who are making decisions about preservation of historic artefacts, whether bench conservators, archaeologists, managers of archives or accidental caretakers of heritage. Working in our laboratories and on site we generate the data that allows us to develop guidance about interventive treatments and collections management protocols.
To fulfil our aim of producing advice that helps to preserve our rich material heritage, we work in close partnership with the organisations who will ultimately use our guidance. Current and recent collaborators include Museum of London, National Museum of Ireland, the Tank Museum, National Museum of Wales, Historic Environment Scotland, English Heritage, The Mary Rose Trust and the SS Great Britain Trust. We also work with the Institute of Conservation.
The analytical laboratories within the School of History, Archaeology & Religion house a wide range of equipment that allow us to identify materials, measure their deterioration rates and reproduce climatic conditions of temperature, humidity and light levels. Our techniques include:
Optical Microscopy - stereo, research and polarised light
Scanning Electron Microscopy
Electrochemical Impedance Spectroscopy
Fourier Transform Infrared Spectroscopy
Portable Micro Raman Spectroscopy