Cultural and Natural Heritage Workshop

ESRF - EBS Workshop Series


Workshop on
Cultural and Natural Heritage at ESRF-EBS

ESRF - Grenoble - France
22 - 24 January 2020

Venue   ESRF auditorium

Marine Cotte, ESRF Grenoble
Pierre-Olivier Autran, ESRF Grenoble
Camille Berruyer, ESRF Grenoble
Nils Blanc, Institut Néel, CNRS Grenoble
Catherine Dejoie, ESRF Grenoble
Paul Tafforeau, ESRF Grenoble

Assistant   Katherine Fletcher, ESRF Grenoble

Registration is closed


Studies of ancient materials are more and more frequent at the ESRF. Samples can be sorted in two classes: non-manufactured (natural) and manufactured (synthetic). Research in palaeontology falls in the first class while studies in art fall in the second, and archaeology in both. Typical questions and the scientific approach are different. For the former, fundamental questions usually tackle the evolution of life on all time scales: over days (e.g. embryo development), over months-years (e.g. evolution from child to adult), over centuries-millenia (e.g. species domestication), over million to billion years (evolution of life). Experiments mainly exploit imaging (in particular µCT) to probe non-destructively the inner structure of materials and deduce information about the functioning and evolution of organs and organisms. For the latter, some questions tackle either the past of objects (what were the manufacturing processes used to produce the individual ingredients and the final artwork and how did these technologies evolve in time and space?) while other questions tackle the evolution/degradation of objects (what are the degradation products made of and how do they form? What are the factors (light, temperature, humidity…) contributing to these degradations?). In this case, analytical techniques (X-ray fluorescence (XRF), X-ray diffraction (XRD), X-ray absorption spectroscopy (XAS)) are generally exploited to reveal the chemical composition of complex materials. The limited size of samples and their high heterogeneity usually implies performing these analyses using micro- and nano-beams.

The ESRF upgrade phase 2, via the EBS and via upgrade and refurbished beamlines, will revolutionize synchrotron-based capabilities for the study of ancient materials. Improvements are expected from the tomography of very large and heavy samples up to the nano-analysis of tiny heterogeneous fragments.

The workshop aims to provide a scientific forum to present and promote the use of synchrotron-based techniques in the field of cultural and natural heritage. More specifically, the programme will feature:

  • recent achievements and discoveries obtained at synchrotron facilities,
  • future instrumental capabilities offered by ESRF-EBS and the new and refurbished beamlines,
  • challenges (precious samples, access models, data management, etc) and users' expectations for possible future developments (on-line and off-line facilities).


Two satellite sessions will be proposed:

  1. Just prior to the workshop, on Wednesday 22, morning, to present the basic principles of the ESRF (instruments, operation) to non-experts
  2. On Thursday 23, morning, comprising two tutorials and one practical:
    • PyMca (PyMca ROI imaging for the study of hyperspectral data)
    • Tomo (advice on how to organize a tomography experiment at the ESRF and discussion about experimental configurations)
    • XRD (Phase identification from XRD data + interrogation of COD database

In parallel to the scientific discussion, a social programme is proposed. Weather permitting, a visit of the street art in Grenoble will be organized on 24 January, to end the workshop.


Registration is closed.

A fee of 50 € is charged to contribute towards lunches at the EPN campus restaurant from Wednesday 22 to Friday 24 January, coffee breaks during the workshop, the "aperitif dinatoire" and the workshop dinner.

Fees will be reduced to 20 € for students.

Participants should arrange and pay for their own travel to/from Grenoble and accommodation.


  This project has received funding from the European Union’s Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme under grant agreement No 870313.

Call for abstracts



Submission of abstracts for talk or poster: 07/11/2019

Confirmation for oral contributions: 19/11/2019

Confirmation for poster contributions: 25/11/2019

Registration: 15/12/2019