Course Identification

Scientific Methods in Cultural Heritage

Lecturers and Teaching Assistants

Dr. Yotam Asscher, Prof. Elisabetta Boaretto

Course Schedule and Location

First Semester
Room 690 in Benoziyo Biological Science 6th floor full day 20-21-22-23 March 2022,

Field of Study, Course Type and Credit Points

Life Sciences (Scientific Archeology Track): Lecture; Elective; Regular; 2.00 points


The course includes two full days at the Weizmann Institute for lectures and 2 full days in the field, Israel Museum and Herodion.
Benozyio Biochemistry room 690, Sunday 20 and Monday 21 March full day





Language of Instruction


Attendance and participation


Grade Type

Numerical (out of 100)

Grade Breakdown (in %)


Evaluation Type

Final assignment

Scheduled date 1


Estimated Weekly Independent Workload (in hours)



Heritage science is cross-disciplinary scientific research of cultural heritage, for its conservation, interpretation and management.

The course will explore the world of conservation science, namely the questions, methods and modes of operation of scientific research in museums and heritage sites. The students will carry out  several case studies on-site in an operating mobile laboratory for the study of artifacts, mosaics and wall paintings to determine their technology and material composition, which will be used to write a simulated publication or report in the field of heritage science.. The course will include field trips to a museum and archaeological site that undergo conservation efforts and participate in their scientific studies. The students will be divided into groups for the research, analysis and reports.


Day 1 - WIS

Lecture 1 : Introduction to Scientific Methods Applications in Heritage Science part I

Lecture 2 : Introduction to Scientific Methods Applications in Heritage Science part II

Lecture 3 : Case studies in conservation science using  portable laboratory on-site

Lecture 4 : Demonstration of  POL optical light microscope, Multispectral camera, FTIR, XRF.   


Day 2 – Israel Museum

Solving real conservation questions in the museum environment, using a portable laboratory  

Day 3 – Herodium, The Theater’s Royal Guest Chamber Frescoes

Solving real conservation questions in the field, using a portable laboratory  

Day 4 - WIS

Workgroups : Data interpretation, writing a  report and preparing a presentation  

Presentations : Each group presents the question, results and conclusions

Concluding discussion

Learning Outcomes

Students will acquire familiarity with on-site instrumentation in order to ask questions and perform analysis on material  from the cultural heritage.

The course is a full 4 days course.

Students will be learning the conservation workflow, and the role of scientific examinations prior to conservation efforts

Students will be operating on-site mobile laboratory: sampling, instrumentation and analysis

Students will be exposed to conservation in the museum, and in the archaeological site: differences in approach, salt efflorescence and modes of treatment of monuments

Reading List

Artioli, G. 2010. Scientific methods and cultural heritage: an introduction to the application of materials science to archaeometry and conservation science. Oxford University Press.


Weiner, S. 2010. Microarchaeology. Cambridge University Press

Both books can be received from the Prof Boaretto.