Preservation of Cultural Heritage

Many cultural heritage items are threatened by biological attacks as some of their constituents such as cellulose or collagen may serve as food for insects or microorganisms. These attacks may be triggered by events such as floods but more often they are the result of long-term ambient storage conditions in religious buildings, museums or libraries. Irradiation can help preserve our cultural heritage.

Research in this field started in the 1960s with the first large-scale application taking place in France (Nucleart project). The disinfection, using irradiation, of the mummy of pharaoh Ramses II occurred in Grenoble in 1977 receiving considerable media attention at the time. A more recent example is the disinfection of Kroma in 2010, a baby mam- moth found in permafrost soil in Siberia.

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