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Ultrashort pulsed laser cleaning in the conservation of archaeologically significant bones and flints

PUBLISHED July 01, 2023 (DOI: https://doi.org/10.54985/peeref.2307p9136493)



Md. Ashiqur Rahman1 , Germán F. De La Fuente1 , José Miguel Carretero2 , Mª Pilar Alonso Abad2 , Rodrigo Alonso Alcalde3 , Rémy Chapoulie4 , Nick Schiavon5 , Luis A. Angurel1
  1. INMA (CSIC – Universidad de Zaragoza)
  2. UA CSIC “Vidrio y Materiales del Patrimonio Cultural (VIMPAC)”- Universidad de Burgos
  3. Área de Didáctica y Dinamización, Museo de la Evolución Humana Burgos
  4. Archéosciences Bordeaux Laboratory UMR 6034, CNRS, University Bordeaux Montaigne, France
  5. HERCULES Laboratory, Universidade de Évora,

Conference / event

InArt 2022: 5th International Conference on Innovation in Art Research and Technology, June 2022 (Paris, France)

Poster summary

Laser cleaning techniques could be considered amongst the most noteworthy contributions of Physics toward the conservation of artworks. Although having established themselves as a striking field of research for the last three decades, these techniques have attracted limited attention from the archaeological conservation community. Laser-assisted removal of contamination and deterioration products in archaeological bones and flints is a subject of great interest to improve recovery and conservation. This research work reports on studies aimed to evaluate the application of two different ultrashort pulsed lasers for the elimination of contaminants on significant Pleistocene bone and Neogene flint surfaces in an attempt to safeguard their archaeological value and origin. The results indicate that fs UV laser irradiation is significantly safer and more efficient at cleaning than sub-nanosecond laser irradiation, owing to the controllability of laser irradiation parameters, which allow for a systematic and accurate parameter description of an actual laser cleaning intervention.


Laser cleaning, Archaeological bone, Flint, Femtosecond UV laser, Sub-nanoseond IR laser, Cultural heritage

Research areas

Material Sciences, Archeology, Physics


  1. T. Maiman, “Stimulated Optical Radiation in Ruby.” Nature 187, 493–494, 1960), doi: https://doi.org/10.1038/ 187493a0
  2. R. Lahoz et al., “Laser Applications in the Preservation of Cultural Heritage: An Overview of Fundamentals and Applications of Lasers in the Preservation of Cultural Heritage.” In Conservation Science for the Cultural Heritage: Applications of instrumental analysis; E. Varella, Ed.: 294–332, 2013, doi: 10.1007/978-3-642-30985-4
  3. M. A. Rahman et al., “Sub-ns-pulsed laser cleaning of an archaeological bone from the Sierra de Atapuerca, Spain: a case study,” SN Appl. Sci., vol. 3, no. 12, 2021, doi: 10.1007/s42452-021-04850-8
  4. J. L. Arsuaga et al., “Sima de los Huesos (Sierra de Atapuerca, Spain). The site.” J. Hum. Evol., vol. 33, no. 2–3, pp. 109 –127, 1997, doi: 10.1006/jhev.1997.0132


  1. European Union's Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme under the Marie Skłodowska-Curie grant agreement (No. 766311)

Supplemental files

No data provided

Additional information

Competing interests
No competing interests were disclosed.
Data availability statement
Data sharing not applicable to this poster as no datasets were generated or analyzed during the current study.
Creative Commons license
Copyright © 2023 Rahman et al. This is an open access work distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.
Rahman, M., De La Fuente, G., Carretero, J., Alonso Abad, M., Alcalde, R., Chapoulie, R., Schiavon, N., Angurel, L. Ultrashort pulsed laser cleaning in the conservation of archaeologically significant bones and flints [not peer reviewed]. Peeref 2023 (poster).
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