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CODE 61698
  • 6 cfu during the 2nd year of 9009 METODOLOGIE PER LA CONSERV. RESTAURO BENI CULTURALI(LM-11) - GENOVA
  • 4 cfu during the 3nd year of 8763 SCIENZE GEOLOGICHE (L-34) - GENOVA
    LANGUAGE Italian
  • SEMESTER 1° Semester


    The course takes into consideration the application aspects of mineralogy and petrography for the fields of interest of Cultural Heritage, in particular in relation to the archaeometry of ceramic and stone materials of archaeological and conservation interest. The course provides the tools of investigation for the characterization of the artifacts of useful support to archaeological problems in reference to technical knowledge and provenance.



    The course aims to provide theoretical and practical knowledge on the characterization and provenance studies of ornamental ceramic and stone artefacts. The student will acquire the ability to describe and classify artistic assets and archaeometric interest; will be able to use optical microscopy methods to analyze the different components of the materials. The student will also learn to evaluate the measurement


    The attendance and participation in the planned activities (lectures and lab activities) will allow the student to acquire the necessary knowledge to deal with studies in the field of the archaeometry of ceramic products, mortars and plasters, dimension stones.

    Specifically, the student will be able to:
    • know and describe the production techniques of ceramic materials, mortars and plasters
    • know the methods of investigation: stereomicroscopy, thin section optical microscopy  and scanning electron microscopy, EDS microanalysis and powder diffraction analyses XRPD
    • know how to distinguish the types of coatings using the theoretical and practical skills acquired
    • know how to conduct surveys of provenance on ceramic artefacts and stone materials by applying the acquired knowledge to specific case studies.


    The students are assumed to know the topics covered by the courses of Mineralogy and Petrography, in particular 1) classification of minerals 2) recognition of rock forming minerals 3) properties of minerals 4) classification of magmatic, metamorphic and sedimentary rocks 5) physical properties of the rocks.


    The course consists of lectures and laboratory activities. Since activities are planned to develop data analysis skills and to apply the acquired knowledge during practical and methodological activities, attendance at lessons and lab activity is strongly recommended.

    Lectures in the classroom are delivered through multimedia presentations.

    The lab activities  are aimed at the practical application of the theoretical knowledge acquired during the lectures and also represent a self-assessment test. The laboratory work is followed by individual reports and final discussion with the teacher. In particular, students will be engaged in:

    • Macroscopic analysis of samples for the recognition of "ceramic groups", textural features of mortars, plasters and ornamental stones;

    • individual activity at stereomicroscope and polarizing  microscope using the collections of the DISTAV;

    • collective activity with the scanning electron microscope (SEM-EDS)  to determine the composition of minerals, ceramic pastes and coatings.

    The laboratory exercises take place in classrooms equipped with 24 polarizing microscopes, 12 steromicroscopes and in the DISTAV SEM-EDS laboratory.


    The course syllabus includes the presentation and discussion of the following topics


    • Introduction to the mineralogical-petrographic method applied to ceramics.
      Production techniques. Archaeological study of ceramics of archaeological interest: pastes and coatings. Evolution of production techniques from the Neolithic to the Middle Ages. The ceramic productions in Liguria and in the Mediterranean area. Applications to characterization, provenance and identification of production techniques. Processes of alteration of ceramic products.
    • Archaeometry of lithic artifacts. Historical extraction sites: their conservation and restoration.
    • Archaeometric characterization of mortars and plasters.
    • Methods of investigation for the provenance analysis and production techniques



    All the slides used during the lectures and other teaching material will be available on AulaWeb at the end of each cycle of lessons / laboratory activities together with other selected papers in pdf format.

    The suggested books are available together with other books for further study at the SMFN School library and at the teacher office.

    Recommended texts for any further information:

    - AMOROSO: Trattato di Scienza della conservazione dei monumenti. Alinea Ed.

    - LAZZARINI & TABASSO: Il restauro della pietra. CEDAM Ed., 2003.

    - MAGRELLI & MEUCCI: Degrado e Conservazione dei Materiali Lapidei. CEFME, Edilroma, 2000.

    - PECCHIONI, FRATINI, CANTISANI: Le malte antiche e moderne tra tradizione ed innovazione. II Ed., Patron Editore, 2018.

    - RICE: Pottery analysis. Chicago U.P., 2005.

    - WINKLER: Stone in architecture. Springer-Verlag, Berlin, 1994.


    Exam Board

    ROBERTO CABELLA (President)


    LAURA GAGGERO (President Substitute)

    CLAUDIO CAPELLI (Substitute)

    CRISTINA CARBONE (Substitute)



    For lessons start and timetable go to the following link:



    The exam is subdivided in two parts: a practical test with written report and an oral assessment.

    The practical test and the written report are related to the topics and practical activities carried out during the laboratory activity.

    Students are admitted to the oral exam if the assessment of their written exam is 18/30  or more

    The oral examination consists of the presentation of a topic chosen by the student and the answer to questions asked by the teacher on topics covered during the course.

    The final score is given by the arithmetic average between the scores of the two parts. The oral examination can be sustained both in the same session as the practical test or in subsequent sessions published on the UNIGE website. Three exam dates will be available in the winter session (January-February) and three in the summer session (June, July, September).


    Details on how to prepare for the exam and the degree of detail required for each topic will be provided at the beginning of the course and reiterated during lectures and lab activities.

    The report of the practical test will verify the effective acquisition of the knowledge of the methods of investigation and of the application of diagnostic techniques to the archaeometric determination of artefacts. The student must be able to integrate the knowledge acquired during the lectures with the skills acquired during the workshop activities in specific cases treated during the course.

    The oral examination will focus mainly on the topics covered during the lectures and will have the purpose of assessing the achievement of the appropriate level of knowledge, the ability to use the theoretical notions for archaeometric analysis. The ability to expose the arguments clearly and with correct terminology will also be evaluated.

    Exam schedule

    Date Time Location Type Notes
    27/01/2021 11:00 GENOVA Orale
    11/02/2021 11:00 GENOVA Orale
    15/06/2021 11:00 GENOVA Orale
    01/07/2021 11:00 GENOVA Orale
    16/07/2021 11:00 GENOVA Orale
    02/09/2021 11:00 GENOVA Orale
    17/09/2021 11:00 GENOVA Orale


    Regular attendance at lectures and lab activities  is strongly recommended.