I am a lecturer in Sustainable Heritage at the UCL Centre for Sustainable Heritage. I graduated in Physics from the University of Ferrara, Italy, with a dissertation on technical imaging applied to easel paintings and I completed my PhD at the same institution with a dissertation on Nuclear Activation Analysis.
Following a post-doctoral fellowship at the Hebrew University in Jerusalem and the Weizmann Institute of Science, Israel, where I studied prehistoric flint tools using a particle accelerator, I collaborated with the Getty Conservation Institute, Los Angeles, US, on a project entitled Organic Materials in Wall Paintings. This project aimed to deepen our present understanding of the use of organic materials in wall paintings by means of scientific investigations.
While working on this project, I became interested in conservation-related issues. I decided to study for a Masters in Conservation of Wall Paintings at the Courtauld Institute of Art. I completed the course in 2007 and in the same year I was appointed a Mellon Fellow at the British Museum, where I developed multispectral imaging in the conservation of artistic and archaeological materials. Special attention was given to the development and implementation of visible-induced luminescence digital photography, a novel technology for the non-invasive identification of Egyptian and Han blue pigments. Using visible-induced luminescence imaging, it was possible to prove, for the first time, that the frieze and the pedimental sculptures of the Parthenon at the British Museum were originally painted using Egyptian blue.
I applied the same imaging technique on several artworks, including the sarcophagus of Seti I at the Sir John Soane’s Museum; the wall paintings in the Tomb of Tutankhamen, as part of a project coordinated by the Getty Conservation Institute and the Egyptian Antiquity Authority; the tomb paintings of Nebamum; the Mausoleum at Halykarnassos and the Temple of Artemis at Ephesos at the British Museum.