Cultural Heritage
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Team members: Márcia Vilarigues (scientific coordinator-glass, mgv@fct.unl.pt), António Pires de Matos, Augusta Lima, Teresa Medici, Mário Cruz, Catarina Villamariz, Virginia Frois, Filomena Macedo, Susana Coentro, Inês Coutinho, Alexandra Rodrigues, Andreia Machado, Joana Delgado, Mathilda Coutinho, Francisca Pulido Valente.

The research group proposes an interdisciplinary approach to the study of ceramics and glass, in a framework of archaeometry and conservation science. The methodology consists on the application of physical and chemical sciences connected to archeology and art history to characterize the ceramic and glass cultural heritage. The glass and ceramic heritage has been seldom studied in our country from a scientific perspective so our approach has given some relevant data concerning those materials and will continue to do so. Our mission is above all to maintain the level of Excellency reached by the RU in archaeometry and technical art history, where several pioneer studies in our country were accomplished. The involvement of the conservation field signifies that the materials are studied not only for materials sake but also envisioning their conservation problems and permanence in the public art context. Finally the addition of art historians and archaeologists to our team allows coordinating all aspects of the materials studied. The research group has currently eight PhD students (including two of the “other research members” of the group) on various themes of ceramics and glass studies, and three research fellows.

Our methodology includes (with emphasis on the application of non-destructive techniques):

  1. Characterization of the chemical composition of both glass and (when applied) ceramic parts of the material;
  2. Study of the historical materials and techniques used for the objects production (raw materials and analysis of technical treatises), formal and iconographic studies;
  3. Characterization of the production technology;
  4. Production of replicas, based on the characterized materials and production technology;
  5. Investigation on commercial roots of raw materials and objects;
  6. Provenance studies;
  7. Study of degradation mechanisms; factors such as environmental humidity and biodegradation will be emphasized; developing surface cleaning new methodologies.


  1. Portuguese glass collections: study and preservation | Download
  2. Medieval Tiles and glazed ceramics in the Iberian Peninsula | Download
  3. Biodeterioration of glazed wall tiles | Download
  4. Medieval stained glass biocorrosion and cleaning | Download
  5. Sensors design for preservation purposes | Download
  6. Glazes of historical and contemporary ceramic artworks and their corrosion mechanisms | Download

VICARTE is thankful for the support of the following entities: Fundação para a Ciência e a Tecnologia, Fundação Calouste Gulbenkian, CRISFORM Marinha Grande, Câmara Municipal da Marinha Grande , Santos Barosa, Jasmim, In-Fusão, Barracha Ltda., Saint Gobain Glass Portugal, CRISAL, FERRO Indústrias Químicas, Portugal, Lta., KERAjet Portugal, Atlantis, Saint Gobain, Portugal, Libbey, Repsol, Culturgest, Fundação Millennium BCP.