Short course on further uses of Laser Cleaning Equipment (Smartclean II)

Heritage Malta employees have been trained in the use of laser cleaning equipment and the general uses of lasers for the cleaning of stone and cultural heritage materials.

As project partner in the Lithos Project, a project partly funded through the cross border cooperation Operational Programme Italia-Malta 2007-2013, Heritage Malta has invested in a variety of modern conservation equipment, tools and technical know-how. ‘Mastri’ and apprentices currently following vocational training in Masonry Heritage Skills were offered the opportunity to learn how to use such equipment and thus carry out their work with greater ease and efficiency while respecting conservation principles.

Among the equipment purchased through the Lithos project was the laser cleaning equipment (Smartclean 2). This equipment is one of the first to be introduced locally and thus a three day course on the general uses of lasers for the cleaning of stone and cultural heritage materials was offered to Heritage Malta conservators. Personnel from the Restoration Directorate, the Superintendence of Cultural Heritage, MEPA and the University of Malta also attended the course.

A foreign expert in the field, Dr Anna Brunetto, was engaged to deliver the course. Dr Brunetto is a restorer specializing in the use of laser and since 1990 she has been following the laser cleaning of artifacts and contributing towards the development of different methods utilized in the restoration sector. She is also the creator and coordinator of the periodic conference APLAR (Application of laser in restoration).

The course, held between the 26th and the 28th of June at Heritage Malta Head Office in Kalkara, sought to deliver the necessary knowledge with regards to the history, scientific research and applications of laser instruments adopted in the field of restoration.

The course included both a theoretical and a practical part. The theoretical part dealt with the principles of laser cleaning and the mechanisms of thermal and photomechanical ablution, accompanied with the illustration of some cases. The practical part was divided into two phases. In the first phase a demonstration by the expert was given, while during the second phase the participants had the ability to practice using the equipment in order to acquaint themselves better. This second phase aimed at giving the necessary knowledge to the participant in order to be able to choose the right setting and choice of laser, to distinguish the parameters that should be used and to be able to choose the right methodology to be adopted for the cleaning of stone and artefacts.