Replications of critical technological processes and the use of replicates as characterization standards: An experiment in undergraduate education

Pamela B. Vandiver, Heather Raftery, Stephanie Ratcliffe, Brian T. Moskalik, Michelle Andaloro, Katelyn Sandler, Alicia Retamoza

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference contribution

1 Scopus citations


The technology of artifacts is analyzed and reconstructed by comparison with known craft practices, the physical and chemical constraints imposed by the raw materials, and the sequence and steps for processing those materials to achieve certain optical and mechanical properties. Understanding of craft knowledge is best pursued by practice, coupled with technical analysis. Six case studies of hands-on, undergraduate student laboratory projects are presented. The studies include testing parameters for the making of stenciled hand images similar to those at caves such as Gargas from the Upper Paleolithic period in France, the variation in processing required to produce Egyptian blue pigments and objects, controlling composition to form either green or turquoise-blue colors in Islamic lead-containing glazes, optimizing the ratio of various pigments to gum Arabic medium in tomb paintings to evaluate application and durability, molding East Asian gokok beads in imitation of jade, and making and radiographing a mock-up of a damaged statue on the façade at the San Xavier Mission as a standard for comparison with the original. In each case, various parameters are varied to model the appearance, structure and composition of an object, and the students benefited from the experience of developing research questions and from their involvement in original research projects.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publicationMaterials Research Society Symposium Proceedings - Materials Issues in Art and Archaeology VIII
Number of pages20
StatePublished - 2008
Externally publishedYes
EventMaterials Issues in Art and Archaeology VIII - Boston, MA, United States
Duration: Nov 26 2007Nov 28 2007

Publication series

NameMaterials Research Society Symposium Proceedings
ISSN (Print)0272-9172


OtherMaterials Issues in Art and Archaeology VIII
Country/TerritoryUnited States
CityBoston, MA

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Materials Science
  • Condensed Matter Physics
  • Mechanics of Materials
  • Mechanical Engineering


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