The ancient artifacts so carefully restored and exhibited in museums open vast windows to our understanding of humanity's past. But for every question an artefact can answer about an earlier civilization, a dozen more are raised. How long ago was this made, with what techniques, and of what materials? What was it used for? How do we know it's authentic? Modern science is able to provide more and more answers to a wide variety of such fundamental questions. In this volume staff members of the British Museum's Department of Scientific Research explain how the physical and computer sciences are used to study and preserve the record of the past.
The British Museum Research Laboratory is the oldest in the world attached to a museum; its staff writes with authority on the benefits (and pitfalls) of using modern scientific analysis to illuminate the technologies and achievements of the past.
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