Meanwhile, scientists are using computed tomography scanning to study the deterioration of Scotland’s historic buildings. CT scanning is used to determine the internal structure of a material. It works by exposing an object to X-rays and observing the amount of rays absorbed in different areas. This makes it medically useful in determining the site and shape of tumours or internal injuries. At Diamond, the team are exploiting the same technique to identify pores inside the buildings’ delicate sandstone which can expand and cause cracks.
But cultural heritage research is not just about conservation; objects can also help us to explore the past. Science helps us to investigate items from archaeological digs and museum collections and identify where they came from, how they were made, and what information they can tell us about people who lived centuries ago. From Neolithic tools to the Dead Sea Scrolls, science at Diamond has provided insights into many aspects of ancient life.
Our history is important. It links us back to our past, and we have a duty to preserve our cultural heritage. Cutting-edge science has become vital to keeping history alive, and whilst advanced machines like Diamond bring the future closer, they also allow us to protect what went before.