Laboratory of Petrography Applied to Cultural Heritage


Dott.ssa Elena Pecchioni, 055-2757547,

Dr Elena Pecchioni, 055-2757547,


Description of the activity

The Laboratory of Applied Petrography to Cultural Heritage works in the specific field of Petrology and Mineralogy applied to the conservation of natural and artificial stones used as building materials, exposed outdoor and indoor.

In this laboratory the following analyses may be carried out: 

separation techniques for particle size analysis of  the clay fraction (< 4 and 2 µm) of rock samples, necessary for X-ray diffractometric analysis, particle size analysis by sieving, calcimetric analysis and petrographic analysis in thin section with optical microscope in transmitted light. 

These methods allow the study of stone building materials used in Tuscany particularly in the field of cultural heritage, such as Marbles, Pietra Serena Sandstone, Pietraforte Sandstone, Serpentinite, Red Ammonitic Limestones, Red Marly Limestones, Alberese Limestone etc., allowing  their characterization and  state of decay. The study of old mortars and of "artificial stones” are performed mainly to identify the raw materials before the mixing and to define the type of binder and aggregate. Also, characterization studies on ancient potteries are performed to define each constituent (matrix, skeleton and  correctives) and to identify  the area of provenance of the raw materials.


The main collaborations of the laboratory in these last years, were with the CNR-ISPC of Florence, The Department of Architecture of University of Florence, the University of Urbino and ISAC - CNR of Bologna on studies about geochemical and petrographic characterization of the archaeological site of Petra in Jordan; with the Papyrological Institute of the University of Florence on studies realized on mortars of Ramesse Temple (Antinoupolis - Egypt), etc. New researches to characterize the construction materials of the Etruscan furnaces used for melting iron in Populonia (Li) are still in progress. Collaborations with the University of L'Aquila (Department of Chemistry, Chemical Engineering and Materials University of L'Aquila) are on going for the characterization of the mortars used in the areas affected by the earthquake of 2009, to identify the constituent materials and their durability. In recent years, studies are realized on the raw materials used for the construction of Roman concrete of the Augustan age and to determine their hydraulic characteristics  etc.


The Laboratory of Applied Petrography to Cultural Heritage of the Department of Earth Sciences is equipped with:

- ultrasonic bath;

- ultrasound device;

- agitator and heating agitator;

- centrifuge;

- Dietrich-Fruhling calcimeter;

- oven;

- set of sieves for particle size analysis;

- glassware, reagents;

- sedimentation cylinders;

- dryers;

- optical microscope in transmitted light.


How to access

The internal staff of the Department can access following the course of the Manager on the use of the diffractometers and after reading the Internal Regulations of the Laboratory. Personnel outside the Department cannot access.


Usage costs


How to cite

Laboratory of Petrography Applied to Cultural Heritage - Earth Science Department University of Florence 

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