Conservation & Restoration

The Conservation & Restoration Laboratory has an open and versatile surface area of 145 m2, equipped and designed to adapt to the needs of the conservation processes of the archaeological and paleontological cultural assets that arrive at its facilities. The laboratory provides services both to the research projects that are developed at CENIEH and to public or private organizations that request such services (museums, universities, archaeological sites, etc.). Before engaging in any intervention process, conservation strategies are evaluated, managed and designed (preventive conservation, curative conservation and restoration) in order to safeguard the collections

This laboratory carries out interventions on archaeological and paleontological cultural assets both in situ and at the actual facilities of CENIEH, and guidance is provided in the field of conservation: preventive conservation (monitoring and control of environmental deterioration agents -relative humidity, temperature, etc.-, conditioning, handling, transport, exhibitions, etc.), curative conservation and restoration.


Intervention processes for cultural assets may require the application of methods that are specific to preventive conservation, curative conservation, restoration or a combination of one or all such procedures. All interventions conducted on cultural assets could imply a risk for the preservation of such assets, so they must be limited to the absolutely necessary, following the principles of minimum intervention, respect towards the original, individualization of treatments and reversibility of the procedures and of the products employed, among others


Definition of intervention criteria for in situ conservation:

  • Active participation by the conservator-restorer team in the field.Equipo 3
  • Study of alteration dynamics of cultural assets from burial to extraction: sedimentary context, post-depositional processes and alterations, real and potential risk factors posed by the air environment.
  • Advice and training for excavators in conservation: extraction techniques, in situ restoration treatments, how to handle finds.
  • Definition of intervention criteria for Conservation at the CENIEH:
    • Evaluation, coordination, design and development of Preventive Conservation strategies:
      • Studies of state of conservation and alteration dynamics for collections.
      • Risk assessment and contro.Equipo 4
      • Environmental control.
      • Optimal conditions for handling, packaging and storage.
      • CENIEH Preventive Conservation Plan: security systems and collections emergency plans.
      • Preparation of replicas.
      • Conservation training, dissemination and consultancy.
    • Evaluation and conduct of Curative Conservation and Restoration interventions:
      • Analytical studies.
      • Physical, chemical and mechanical procedures.
      • Production of technical reports.
    • Graphic and textual documentation of interventions: creation and development of the CENIEH Conservation and Restoration Database.
  • Design and pursuit of lines of research for applying new strategies and technologies to conservation.
  • Participation in national and international research projects.
  • Publication and dissemination of the actions carried out in the laboratory.
Facilities and equipment
Foto Laboratorio Conservaión y Restauración

The laboratory was designed to cater for the nature of the intervention processes and the archaeological and paleontological cultural assets. The space has been organized into areas making the entire work cycle possible: diagnosis, moisturization, chemical treatment, mechanical working, mechanical cleaning, storage in transit, packaging, molds and reproductions. In addition to having perimeter benches, the central tables permit interventions on large pieces, and these are complemented with mobile auxiliary tables and an electrical lift table enabling work at different heights.

It is equipped with an integrated system of vacuum and pressure connections, binocular stereomicroscopes with integrated digital camera, photographic equipment and copy stand with dimmable fluorescent lamps, environmental recording equipment, water purifier, fume hood, localized extractor arms for organic vapors, LED lights, equipment for mechanical and ultrasound work, in addition to standard laboratory equipment and numerous tools and instruments.

  • Stereoscopic microscope Olympus SZ61.
  • Photographic copy stand Kaiser Repro RB 5055 HF 5589.
  • Digital reflex camera Nikon D5000 and Nikkor macro object lens (60 mm).
  • Fume hood CRUMA.
  • 10 localized organic vapor extraction arms FUMEX.
  • Water purifier Millipore
  • Vibroincisor
  • Air ultrasound
  • Micromotor
  • Micro scalpel
Applications and Services

- Conservation consultancy for archaeological and paleontological cultural assets:

  • Studies of state of conservation of collections.
  • Preventive Conservation (archaeological excavations, exhibitions, collection rooms, etc.).
  • Curative Conservation and Restoration methods. 
  • Storage and packaging systems (for deposit or transfer).
  • Studies of effects of analytical technologies on assets..

- Conservation and Restoration interventions: in situ and in the labor

- Molds and replicas: archaeological and paleontological assets, occupation floors, stratigraphies, ichnites, etc. High-resolution 1:1 reproductions; chromatic reintegration.

- Conditioning systems: transport and storage.

- Users of the Microcomputed Tomography service who are going to scan cultural heritage items. The Conservation and Restoration lab offer the option of complementing it, at no additional cost, in order to preparing the scan.

- The temporary storage of their cultural assets will be made available to users in the CENIEH collection rooms provided at the Conservation and Restoration Laboratory. The storage will be done only in case that the nature of the cultural assets are compatible with the conservation conditions established in this collections rooms.

Last updated: Tue, 04/02/2024 - 18:36