Research in restoration can be compared, in some instances, to a walk along a ridge path, or rather, many ridge paths, along the natural (or artificial) watersheds between subject matter belonging to different disciplines. Choosing a ridge path means looking towards goals that are far away, and being aware of the difficulties involved. It requires researchers to see the big picture to optimise their route, and be able to make educated decisions, even with lack of certainty. For this reason I believe that one of the ways restoration can contribute to research is delineating ridge paths with clear goals to preserve built heritage and communicate its meaning, beginning with a full understanding of built heritage itself. Some paths are now consolidated (i.e. the paths between archaeology and history), others have become disciplines in themselves (i.e. bioinformatics and astrophysics), while some are still developing (i.e. the paths between construction technique and chemistry). Lastly, I am certain that there are ridge paths that today we cannot even fathom. As an example, the contribution presents two pieces of research, which started between 2009 and 2013, bringing together the interests of researchers from different Departments and Universities. The two pieces of research delineate two ridge paths between different disciplines with a view to integration between disciplines. One path – running through archaeology, technology and physics – seeks to apply the method of radiocarbon (14C) absolute dating to lime mortars found in historical construction. The other path – traced in history, engineering, and chemistry – examines how to improve the predictability in evaluation models of local mechanisms through experimental data. It also focuses on defining a non-invasive diagnostic methodology to evaluate on site, the metal tie-rods of the pre-industrial age found in historical construction.
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