The application of science and technology and forensic investigative techniques are essential for the identification and understanding of the materials from which artefacts are made and the causes and prevention of deterioration. The significance and role scientists play within an interdisciplinary team is an important concept in this field.
The Diagnostic Science Laboratories (DSL) primary aim is to develop and promote appropriate solutions to the conservation problems of objects, art, architecture, archaeological sites and monuments.
DSL staff members carry out research in a multidisciplinary team effort to ensure the protection of our collections through the application of recent scientific knowledge in accordance with international practices. Scientists provide essential information to conservators about deterioration causes, principal factors influencing the damage mechanisms and compatible treatment options. They also conduct scientific research on the composition of materials, authentication and identification that can contribute to the scholarly interpretation of art and artefacts from the past.
DSL also operates a section dedicated to environmental monitoring and preventive conservation. This section was set up to address the preservation concerns of a vast amount of cultural heritage materials under the care of Heritage Malta and to reduce the real risks to our cultural treasures.
In addition to providing services to other conservation sections requesting scientific investigations, the laboratories also see to requests from private collections and those under the responsibility of external bodies other than Heritage Malta, as well as provide analytical services to third parties.