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Subject: Course on ancient metals

Course on ancient metals

From: David A. Scott <dascott<-at->
Date: Sunday, December 6, 2009
Course on Ancient and Historic Metals

Ancient and Historic Metals: Technology, Microstructure, and
Held at UCL: London, Department of Mechanical Engineering.
Instructor: Professor David A. Scott
August 16-20, 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.

Course Instructor:

    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 - Friday 16-20 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,
     Room A410,
     The Cotsen Institute of Archaeology, UCLA
     405 Hilgard Avenue,
     Los Angeles CA 90095-1510, USA

Course Details:


    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
    metallography. Gold and gold alloys: gilding:  examination of
    gold alloys. Lecture on the technology of ancient gold alloys in
    South America. Continuation of metallographic practical

                  Conservation DistList Instance 23:21
                 Distributed: Monday, December 14, 2009
                       Message Id: cdl-23-21-009
Received on Sunday, 6 December, 2009

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