Academic thesis

Petra Süss: Pre-Columbian gold-copper alloys, archaelogical finds from Peru and Panama, from the Museum für Völkerkunde (Museum of Ethnology) Vienna, examination - technology - conservation Back
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Abstract: Extensive scientific examinations as well as research into the material technology were the starting point for the conservation and restoration of four pre-Columbian Tumbaga objects. Ancient American gold and copper alloys (Tumbaga) are considered unique to South and Central America and its cultures. Apart from the alloy, a further characteristic feature found on all the pieces examined was the mise-en-couleur (depletion gilding). A main problem was to reveal the original gold surface which had been disfigured by corrosion by-products as well as the stabilisation finds, originally from Peru and Panama. In order to reconstruct the production and gilding techniques, a practical attempt at making a reproduction was undertaken, using the metallurgical knowledge gleaned through research. The more important steps in conservation and restoration were documented in a supplementary virtual 3-D animation of the individual steps of removing surface accretions.


  • academic institution: Universität für angewandte Kunst Wien
  • kind of theses:  Diplomarbeit
  • main Tutor:  Univ.-Prof. Mag. Dr. Gabriela Krist
  • date:  2005
  • Language:  German

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