Ministère de la Culture et de la Communication
Université Versailles Saint-Quentin


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Synchrotron radiation and neutrons in art and archaeology (SR2A-2014)

Musée du Louvre, Paris, 9—12 Sept 2014

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Conference partners

IPANEMA is a joint CNRS / Ministry of Culture and Communication laboratory (USR 3461). IPANEMA is a centre for the development of advanced methodologies of material characterization in archaeology, paleo-environments, paleontology and cultural heritage, and to support synchrotron research through external users hosted on the platform. To this aim, IPANEMA develops and provides a set of techniques for preparing specimens, to study artifacts and samples, and statistically analyze collected datasets.

The C2RMF is an institution of the Ministry of Culture devoted to the analysis and conservation of the cultural heritage of the French Museums. The Research Department of the C2RMF set up inside the security area of the Louvre Palace includes 40 permanent staff who perform studies and research based on museum artefacts.
The C2RMF maintains several examination and analytical methods based on multispectral imaging, X-ray radiographies and physico-chemical techniques for the identification and characterization of the different materials inside the artefacts and works of art. The main missions of the research department , are related to the expertise for the museums (authentication and assistance to conservation), Research and Development in the conception and manufacturing tools for imaging and analysing precious CH artifacts and managing or participating to multidisciplinary research projects in art history/archaeology and conservation science. The C2RMF is also inserted in the CNRS Research in the context of the the IRCP (Institut de Recherche de Chimie ParisTech, UMR 8247) a research unit of the CNRS with the research potential of the Ecole Nationale Supérieure de Chimie Paris (ENSCP). The C2RMF is partner in the Fondation for Cultural Heritage Sciences and inserted inside an important international research network in conservation science.

The Centre de recherche sur la conservation des collections (CRCC) is a research unit funded in 1963 under the umbrella of the national council of scientific research (CNRS), the Ministry of Culture and the National museum of natural history. CRCC is carrying-out research for the preservation of cultural properties from archival collections and museum artifacts. A staff of conservation scientists with a background in physics, chemistry or microbiology, endeavor to assess degradation mechanism of cultural heritage materials and to introduce preservation technics with respect to sustainable development policies. In order to fulfill these goals, the CRCC is equipped with technical platforms for analyzing organic and inorganic materials and for performing accelerated ageing tests in climate chambers. Its research fields covers, among others, the paper and ink, leather and parchment, photographic materials, modern and contemporary materials, natural history specimens, biocontamination. The CRCC has been coordinating the EC funded project POPART on plastic preservation and plays a role in international research networks as well as some international initiatives funded by the Mellon and/or the Getty foundation such as the Middle East Photograph Preservation Initiative, the Hermitage initiative or the ICCROM training programmes (COLLASIA or SOIMA). The CRCC, LRMH and the Musée de la Musique are constituting all together the Centre de recherche sur la conservation (CRC USR3224).

The CNRS Laboratory of Molecular and Structural Archaeology (LAMS) based at the University Paris 06 is basically working on two research themes :
- the evolution of ancient materials over time in order to determine reliable informative markers about the life in past societies and to evaluate the natural transformation mechanisms of archaeomaterials and
- the study of material culture (technological know-how, raw materials used) in different geo-cultural spheres in close relationship with trade networks.
The team is developing a mobile analytical platform, including specially conceived self-built equipment, particularly in the field of X-ray methods such as X-ray fluorescence and diffraction. The team is also working regularly at different European X-ray sources.

The Laboratoire Archéomatériaux et Prévision de l’Altération (LAPA) is based at the CEA Saclay and shares people and equipment from SIS2M UMR3299 and IRAMAT UMR5060 of the CNRS and the CEA. LAPA uses chemistry and material science to answer historical and/or archaeological issues as understanding the way ancient metals were produced, their nature, and the way they were commercialized. Besides, LAPA focuses his research on the understanding of the mechanisms of alteration and corrosion of archaeological ferrous objects, first for heritage applications and second, as analogues to contribute to the modeling of behavior of materials that will be used by the nuclear industry and civil engineering in the future on very long term.

The Research Laboratory for Historical Monuments (LRMH) is a national public service linked to the Heritage department of the Ministry of Culture and Communication. The LRMH activities are devoted to studies and research on conservation of buildings, artefacts and objects listed as “Historical Monuments”. It works in relationship with architects, curators and conservators within the frame of the preliminary studies, restoration work or scientific surveys. It is composed of 38 permanent people (geologists, chemists, microbiologists, materials engineers…). Its research fields are the main building materials of the cultural heritage (stone, stained glass, mural paintings, rock paintings, polychromes on wood and stone, metal, concrete, textiles, wood), the causes and mechanisms of degradation, the treatments applied to deteriorated monuments and artworks, and the environmental indoor and outdoor conservation conditions.

- The Louvre Museum
The Louvre, in its successive architectural metamorphoses, has dominated central Paris since the late 12th century. Built on the city’s western edge, the original structure was gradually engulfed as the city grew. The dark fortress of the early days was transformed into the modernized dwelling of François I and, later, the sumptuous palace of the Sun King, Louis XIV. The museum has occupied it since 1793.
The Louvre’s collection covers Western art from the medieval period to 1848 (Decorative arts, Prints and Drawings, Paintings, Sculptures), formative works from the civilisations of the ancient world (Near Eastern Antiquities, Egyptian Antiquities, Greek, Etruscan and Roman Antiquities), and works of Islamic art.

- MNHN Prehistory Department
For more than two million years, during the Quaternary period, humans became witnesses but also actors of the evolution of climate, environments and biodiversity. From such a perspective, the Prehistory Department of the Muséum national d’histoire naturelle studies, teaches and disseminates an interdisciplinary and naturalist approach of Prehistory, grounded on a strong heritage concern and supported by several keywords : human lineage, palaeoenvironments, behaviours and chronology. Constantly interacting with numerous scientific teams belonging to CNRS, CEA, IRD, universities and other institutions, the Department’s scientific project is widely open to international networks.

PATRIMA unites the humanities, social sciences and natural sciences in la Fondation des Sciences du Patrimoine. The purpose of the Foundation is to honour and promote cultural heritage through the development of international research and education programs.
Initiated by the universities of Cergy-Pontoise and Versailles-Saint Quentin in Yvelines, PATRIMA is a unique initiative. It is made up of prestigious cultural institutions including le Musée du Louvre, la Bibliothèque nationale de France, le Musée du Quai Branly, and le Château de Versailles, many major research and restoration laboratories, scientists, historians, and conservationists.

- Synchrotron SOLEIL
SOLEIL is the French national synchrotron facility. Located on the “Plateau de Saclay at Saint-Aubin (Essonne, France), it is an accelerator of particles (electrons) that produces a light endowed with extraordinary and necessary properties for the scientific community (great brilliance : 10,000 times brighter than sunlight). SOLEIL provides new perspectives in the study of matter with a resolution down to millionths of meters and sensitivity to all types of materials. Each year, 3500 researchers come and use the synchrotron covering fields from archaeology to medicine and microelectronics.