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Rathgen-Forschungslabor (Rathgen Research Laboratory)

The Rathgen-Forschungslabor (Rathgen Research Laboratory) of the Staatliche Museen zu Berlin (National Museums in Berlin) is an institute of natural science which deals with the analysis of materials and the preservation of objects of cultural history. The aim of the examinations carried out is the identification of material, age, provenance and authenticity of objects as well as consultation in matters of restoration and conservation of works of art. The Laboratory was founded in 1888 as the Chemical Laboratory of the Royal Museums in Berlin.

The work of the Rathgen-Forschungslabor concentrates on:
- metal analyses in archaeological, art historical and ethnological objects,
- compilation of a database of analyses of cultural historical metal objects, together with an archive on the history of metal technology,
- tests on archaeological ceramics, pigment analyses
- determination of age of ceramic objects following the thermoluminescence technique, pigment examination in historical textiles,
- consultation in the restoration of historical buildings and metal monuments,
- examinations into the preservation of cultural historical wooden objects,
- compilation of an archive of fakes and forgeries

For these analyses, the laboratory has at its disposal modern machinery and technology such as light and grid electron microscopes, X-ray Fluorescence Spectroscopy, Atom Absorption Analysis, Emission Spectral Analysis, X-ray Diffractometry, Pyrolysis-Gas-Chromatography, FT-Infrared Spectroscopy, High Performance Liquid Chromatography (HPLC) and thermoluminescence equipment.

Research results are published in the archaeometry magazine "Berliner Beiträge zur Archäometrie".
Catalogue of Publications (PDF)

Postal Address
Staatliche Museen zu Berlin
Schlossstraße 1A
D - 14059 Berlin

Telephone: +49-(0)30-3267 4911
Fax: +49-(0)30-3267 4912

Head of the Rathgen-Forschungslabor:
Dr. Stefan Simon

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