Course on Ancient and Historic Metals
Dear List Members. If you know of students or research workers or
faculty who would like to take this course in London in August 2010,
then here are the details..with best wishes to all..David
Ancient and Historic Metals: Technology, Microstructure, and
Held at UCL: London, Department of Mechanical Engineering.
Instructor: Professor David A. Scott
August 16th-20th, 2010
Course Aims: This five-day course will act both as an introduction
and a focus of more intensive study dealing with the examination,
analysis, metallographic examination and deterioration of ancient
and historic metals. The course is designed to benefit
conservators, scientists and archaeologists who wish to learn how
to prepare metallic samples for metallographic study, learn
something of the technological aspects of the working and structure
of metals, and how corrosion and patination can be discussed and
Artefacts for examination: Over the past 26 years an unrivalled
collection of mounted metallographic samples has been assembled,
which are studied as part of the course practical work, involving
both polarized light microscopy and metallographic microscopy of
both freshly polished and etched samples. These samples range from
cast iron from China to wootz steel from India, bronze coinage
alloys from the Roman Empire to high-tin bronze from ancient
Thailand, silver alloys from the Parthian period to ancient Ecuador,
gilded copper and tumbaga from Peru and Colombia, to mention only a
few of the geographical areas covered by available samples. Course
participants will be instructed in the use of polishing and etching
in the examination of samples and are encouraged to keep digital
images of the samples they have prepared during the week. Students
may also bring their own samples for examination if mounted and
ground, or if not mounted, then one or two samples may be brought
which can be mounted and prepared during the course.
David A. Scott, Professor, Department of Art History, UCLA, and
Director of the MA program in Archaeological and
Ethnographic Conservation. His book, Copper and Bronze in Art:
Corrosion, Colorants, Conservation won the prize from the
Association of American Publishers as the best Scholarly/Art
book published in the USA in 2002. His book on Iron and Steel:
Corrosion, Colorants, Conservation, written with Professor Gerhard
Eggert, was published from London in July 2009. Professor Scott has
published over 95 papers in the peer-reviewed literature and has been
an Editor for the journal 'Studies in Conservation? for over 25 years.
Course Schedule: The course will be held over the five days from
Monday 16th August to Friday 20th August 2010. The course will be
held at the Department of Mechanical Engineering, University College
London, Torrington Place, [just off of Malet Street], London WC1E 7JE,
England. The course will run from 9:15am-5pm each day.
The course is open to a maximum of 10 participants only.
Course Costs: The cost of the instruction for the five days will be
$800.00 or sterling equivalent of this amount [500 Pounds Sterling].
For details of payment and to register for this course, please contact
the course organizer and director:
Professor David A. Scott,
The Cotsen Institute of Archaeology, UCLA
405 Hilgard Avenue,
Los Angeles CA 90095-1510, USA
dascott @ ucla.edu
Introduction, use of the metallurgical microscope, the mounting
and polishing of samples, their preparation, use of resins,
grinding and polishing. Introduction to phase diagrams and
their application to ancient bronzes and copper alloys.
Copper-arsenical, copper-nickel, and copper-tin alloys. Casting
and working of metals and aspects of bronze casting in the
ancient world. Etching of some copper alloys. Recording of
samples with digital camera and case studies in the examination
of a group of copper alloy plaques and a bronze figurine of the
God Osiris will be discussed.
Continuation of the examination of copper-tin and
copper-tin-lead alloys. Ancient coinage alloys of the Roman
period, examination of copper-arsenic bronzes, aspects of the
corrosion of bronze and copper alloys. The Pourbaix diagram and
some of its applications. The extraction of metals from their
ores and some principles of the Ellingham diagram.
The phase diagram for copper-silver and lead-tin alloys.
Examination of silver and debased silver alloys. Surface
enrichment and corrosion. Problems in the authentication of
ancient silver and bronze alloys. Metallographic examination of
ancient silver alloys and techniques of etching silver.
Discontinuous precipitation phenomena and the age of silver
alloys. Colour etching of both copper alloys and silver alloys.
The Philosopher plate and the Strozzi silver basin: case studies
from the J. Paul Getty Museum.
Mounting of samples brought by students. Examination of some
ternary phase issues in relation to gold-silver-copper alloys.
The corrosion of tumbaga alloys and aspects of the Pourbaix
diagram. Video concerning the extraction of iron and steel.
Introduction to iron and steel. The principles of corrosion and
the eight types of corrosion of metals. The examination of iron
from meteorites. The technology of ancient iron and steel in the
West, in India and in China will be contrasted and samples
illustrating these different technologies examined. The
metallography of ancient iron alloys.
Corrosion issues of iron and steel. Weathering steel and
patinas, the nature of iron corrosion products and their
implications for the stabilization of iron artefacts during
conservation treatments. Problems with the examination of lead,
lead-tin, zinc, and aluminium alloys. The reasons why brass was
made by cementation, the extraction of metallic zinc and
examination of samples of brass alloys. The use of solders and
aspects of tinning of ancient bronzes. Examination of mounted
specimens prepared on the Tuesday, and continuation of practical
Gold and gold alloys: gilding: examination of gold alloys.
Lecture on the technology of ancient gold alloys in South
America. Continuation of metallographic practical examination.