Sedimentology and cultural heritage

A.Y. 2020/2021
Overall hours
Learning objectives
This Course aims to prepare graduates for diagnosis of i) sedimentary rocks, ii) sedimentary and petrogenetic environments, iii) preservation and weathering state of sedimentary natural stones, in view of job activities for diagnosis and preservation of architectural, archaeological and sculptural materials and for preservation and exploitation of sedimentary and archaeological environments and landscapes.
Expected learning outcomes
Ability to: 1) observe, describe, recognize and classify sediments and sedimentary rocks; 2) recognize provenance and weathering degree of sedimentary rocks as architectural, archaeological and sculptural materials; 3) recognize the most common continental and transitional sedimentary facies, processes and environments; 4) describe a sedimentary succession and landscape for archaeological purposes and environmental fruition.
Course syllabus and organization

Single session

Lesson period
First semester
Owing to pandemic emergency, the 2020-21 edition of the Course will be held only online. Live lectures (48 hours, 8 cfu) will be given at the Teams classroom named "Sedimentologia Applicata ai Beni Culturali - Bersezio". Lectures may be recorded to facilitate participation of Student Workers. The access code to the class and the time schedule for lectures will be posted on the Ariel site of the Course since September 2020.
The Course program and the teaching methods will remain unchanged compared to the pre-emergency editions, the only difference consisting in online lecturing. Themes for the development of optional trained personal work will be suggested during lectures. The achievements of the personal works will be evaluated during the final exam, as an alternative to traditional questions on the Course issues. Since the end of the pandemic emergency, the final exam will be an oral enquiry, held live online at the same Teams class where the Course was given. The exam will remain unchanged compared to the former editions of the Course, the only difference consisting in its online progress and in the replacement of rock specimens with rock pictures. Every Candidate will be asked to describe and diagnose two specimens of sedimentary rocks (on HD pics or videos), to describe and interpret the picture of a stratigraphic profile and to present the personal work. A traditional question about any issue of the Course program will be asked to those who did not develop the optional personal work.
Course syllabus
The Course is open to all the Students of the 1st and 2nd year of the MSc Science and technology for the Cultural Goods, who are interested in the fields of i) diagnosis and preservation of stone materials in architecture and art, ii) geoarcheology and iii) study of the environmental cultural goods. Through theory and applications, skills in the fields of diagnosis of sedimentary rock types, properties and deterioration patterns will be achieved. The study of sedimentary processes operating in the most widespread continental and transitional environments will be applied to describe and interpret archeologic stratigraphies and to the characterize the natural environmental goods.

1) Sedimentary processes and environments
The sedimentary environment as a geographic dynamic setting; main continental and transitional sub-aerial and aquatic sedimentary environments; sedimentary materials; processes and controls on erosion, transport and deposition of sediments.

2) From sedimentary processes to sediment accumulations
Erosional and depositional dynamics; mobility of sediments and sedimentary environments; origin and hierarchy of sedimentary deposits: lamina, laminaset, bed and bedset; sedimentary facies; facies associations, hierarchy of sedimentary bodies and diagnosis of sedimentary environments.
3) From sediments to sedimentary rocks
Lithification and diagenesis of sediments; texture, composition and structure of sedimentary rocks; basic classification schemes.
4) From sedimentary rocks to architectural and archaeological materials
Sedimentary rocks for construction purposes (building and/or ornamental stones) and as sculptural materials; diagnosis of provenance of natural stones.
5) Settings of architectural and archaeological materials
Erosion and deposition in athropogenic contexts; environmental dynamics and natural stratigraphy at archeological sites: from observation to interpretation.
6) Sedimentary processes, environments and rocks in the frame of human activity
Diagnosis of weathering degree of natural stones; diagnosis for restoration and replacement of weathered sedimentary artifacts; sedimentary environments and landscapes as cultural assets and cultural heritage.
Prerequisites for admission
The Course is open to all the Students enrolled in any of the two years of the MSc Science and technology for Cultural Goods - LM F8Y. No specific pre-requisites are required. The background provided by the BSc degrees in Science and Technology for Cultural Goods (LT - F8X) and by the Earth Sciences BSc degrees are adequate to participate to the Course.
Teaching methods
The Course is based on theory and practicals. Every group of concepts and notions introduced during frontal lectures will be soon applied to real cases through trained and personal exercises. During lectures, topics for trained personal/group work will be suggested, also in view of presentation during the final exam.
Teaching Resources
The Ariel site of the Course contains:
1) full set of lecture slides (in .pdf format)
2) Course manual by the teacher
3) collection of edited sedimentary rocks pics for personal exercise
4) UNI Normal about stone deterioration and the ICOMOS 2006 Glossary on the same topic.

Tucker, M. - The field description of Sedimentary Rocks. Geological Society of London Ed.
Nichols G. (1999) - Sedimentology and Stratigraphy. Blackwell Science, 355 pp.
Siegesmund, S. & Snethlage, R. (2014) - Stones in architecture (Properties, Durability). Springer, 550 pp.
Assessment methods and Criteria
The evaluation is based on an oral exam, during which the Candidates will be asked to describe and diagnose two sedimentary rock specimens, to describe and interpret a stratigraphic profile and to illustrate the personal work they selected. As an alternative, a general question covering any issue of the Course program will be asked to those candidates who decided to skip the personal work.
The general evaluation criteria include: 1) the verification of the degree of autonomy achieved in the diagnosis of sediments, sedimentary environments, stratigraphic successions, sedimentary rock types with their material properties and deterioration patterns; 2) the evaluation of the degree of awareness of the correct use of diagnoses throughout the application fields of Sedimentology to the study of the architectonic and artistic goods, to geoarcheology and to the characterization and preservation of the environmental cultural goods.
Lessons: 48 hours
Professor: Bersezio Riccardo