Application of nuclear analytical techniques to investigate the authencity of art objects

International Atomic Energy Agency Co-ordinated Research Project (2004-2008)

Overall objectives: The proposed CRP is aimed to explore new fields of application for nuclear analytical techniques in art and archaeology. It will help to foster collaboration between museum conservators and analytical researchers. The dissemination of information on applications of advanced analytical techniques to art objects will stimulate the use of these techniques in developing Member States and help in conservation and recovery of national heritage.

Specific research objectives: The specific objectives may vary from country to country subject to the research priorities defined by the national teams. However, according to the overall objectives of this CRP they will add to the preservation and recognition of national heritage and may comprise some of the following:

  • Identification of authenticity of certain groups of artefacts being of particular national importance through chemical analysis.
  • Clarify authorship of valuable paintings, identify provenance and age of museum specimen.
  • Providing baseline data for law enforcement to identify fraud.
  • Contribute information for the identification of seized illegally traded materials.
  • Assist conservators in restoration and preservation of cultural heritage.
  • Identify suitable methods and recommend procedures for chemical identification of art object.

The Hungarian part of the project deals mainly with regional factors comparing local sediments with the material of early ceramics all over Hungary. The main focus of analysis will be on material of recent excavations with adequate documentation and abundant comparative samples. After establishing an analysis routine, systematic elaboration of representative material from the collections of the Hungarian National Museum is planned.