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Identifying and preserving the rich variety of cultural heritage assets present in Scotland forms a key part of the strategic vision of several national funding bodies and organisations in the UK including the Scottish Strategic Archaeology Committee and Historic Environment Scotland. This project seeks to apply a well-established, non-destructive sample-analysis technique (neutron activation) to examine the changing composition of building materials and how this information may be harnessed, including as an input for predictive models of care and maintenance. This information will be used to inform wider policy decisions regarding the management of tangible cultural heritage. This project will use neutron-activation analysis (NAA) techniques to support the sustainable management of historic sites in Scotland. NAA uses neutron radiation to “activate” materials which undergo radioactive decay via gamma rays, allowing isotopic ratios to be measured. Isotopic ratios are applied extensively in heritage science to determine the origin and age of materials. The successful candidate will investigate the role of nuclear data in emerging isotopic analyses of benefit to heritage science.

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