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ISAAC Mobile Lab Road Trip 2022

In August 2022, the ISAAC Mobile Lab set off on an 8-week tour of European Institutions and historical sites, taking 9 different mobile lab instruments and our eager research team. Read our trip diary to find out more!

The beautiful Notre-Dame de Reims 

...and set off for Switzerland in the morning 

Just made it to the train on time through lots of summer holiday traffic!

Can a Professor of Physics pack the van? Yes she can! (It took a while though...)

23 August 2022

We stayed in Reims overnight...

After months of planning, only two things are left to do: pack the van and drive to the Eurostar on time!

Stop 1:  Zurich, Switzerland 

After 2 days of driving, we arrived at the Swiss Institute of Art History (SIK-ISEA) in Zurich, and met up with old colleague Alessandra Vichi, who moved to Zurich during the Covid-19 Pandemic. 

Here, with Alessandra and curator Sonika Soni, we analysed Gujarati miniatures from the Rietberg Museum collection using our two hyperspectral imaging systems spanning 400-2500nm

Some gorgeous Alps scenery as we travel to our next stop... 

After months of planning, we met Patrick Cassitti in Mustair

First we went to St Peter's Church in Mistail to examine the Carolingian wall paintings.

We scanned the wall paintings using our 3D spectral imaging system PRISMS for large area scanning as part of "Forgotten colours – Rediscovering the original polychromy of Early Medieval wall paintings in the Raetia Curiensis region".....

Stop 2: Mustair & Mistail, Switzerland

Our visit ended with a guided tour of the site.

Now on to Naples!

...then we headed back to Mustair to analyse Carolingian wall paintings in the UNESCO site of St John's Convent, as part of an IPERION HS Mobile Lab campaign to inform conservation strategy.

Stop 3: Naples, Italy

We spent a week at the National Library of Naples examining the Herculaneum papyri carbonised by the 75 AD eruption of Mount Vesuvius, using Optical Coherence Tomography and spectral imaging in the near infrared.

Stop 4: Florence, Italy 

We conducted a conservation survey in the Tornabuoni Chapel in Florence, using our remote short-wave infrared (SWIR) hyperspectral imaging equipment to map areas of the site which have been affected by salt deposits resulting from water ingress. 

After a full day of analysis, we headed out with our hosts Cristiano Riminesi of ISPC-CNR and Alberto Felici, Head Conservator responsible for monuments, historical buildings and environment in Florence.....

...and again...just testing the hypothesis! sample the local Chianti! (well, somebody had to do it...)

Stop 5: Milan, Italy

The ISAAC Mobile Lab arrived in Milan for a UK-Italy collaboration funded by the Royal Society with Claudia Conti of ISP-CNR.

Here, we used the remote spectral imaging systems (400-2500nm) and remote Raman to compare the material composition of areas of the wall painting after cleaning (possibly Leonardo’s original) with the later repaint.

We visited the Sala delle Asse, a vaulted room in the Castello Sforzesco, which was originally decorated by Leonardo da Vinci and repainted during several restoration campaigns.

Stop 6: Nantes, France

Homeward bound, we stop in Nantes at the Arc Antique laboratory and meet up with other IPERION HS MOLAB providers to study aeroplane wrecks from WWII, with the goal of understanding their composition and assessing condition for the Procraft project. It was really great to see each other's instruments first hand and we look forward to future collaborations! 

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