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Austin Nevin

telephone: +39 0223996187      
address: piazza Leonardo da Vinci 32, 20133 Milano, Italy
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Position: Researcher

Austin Nevin, chemist and conservator, is a Researcher at the CNR-IFN where he has worked since 2011. Nevin's research focuses on the analysis of paintings and painting materials, and the study of ancient and modern cultural heritage using optical and spectroscopic techniques. He is the co-author of over 50 publications, an Editor of Studies in Conservation, one of the editors of the Springer series  Cultural Heritage  Science and a member of the permanent scientific committee of the LACONA and of the TECHNART conferences. He was the coordinator of the CNR-IFN research group for the FUTURAHMA project (FIRB 2012), and the PI for the Bilateral Project between Italy and USA 2013-2015 funded by the Italian Ministero degli Affari Esteri e della Cooperazione Internazionale which has involved joint research between the Metrpolitan Museum of Art (New York) and his research group. He is currently leading the CNR-IFN in a research project together with the Chinese Academy of Cultural Heritage (CACH) on the conservation of wall paintings.

He  is a Council Member and Fellow of the International Institute for the Conservation of Historic and Artistic Works (since 2013) and served as the coordinator of the Scientific Research Working Group of the International Council of Museums - Committee for Conservation (ICOM-CC)  (from 2011-2014). Following a degree in Chemistry (MChem) from the University of Oxford (2001) and a 3-year MA in the Consrvation of Paintings (Wall Paintings) from the Courtauld Institute of Art  (2004), Nevin went on to obtain a PhD from the Courtauld entitled “Fluorescence and Raman Spectroscopy for the analysis of proteinb-based binding media" (2008). Between 2004-2007 he won a Marie Curie Early Stage Training Fellowship at IESL-FORTH (Greece) where his research focussed on the analysis of paintings using laser-based techniques.

Research Highlights

An international research team (Politecnico di Milano, Università di Pisa, Egyptian Museum in Cairo, Italian National Research Council, University of Fayoum, Politecnico di Torino, XGLab Italian company) documents the meteoritic origin of the iron of the dagger blade belonging to the ancient Egyptian King Tutankhamun (14th C B.C.E). This solves a longstanding heated debate among scholars since its discovery in the wrapping of the king's mummy in 1925, by archaeologist Howard Carter. As reported in a paper published in Meteoritics and Planetary Science, geochemical analysis performed in December 2014 through non-invasive X-ray fluorescence spectrometry reveals that the iron dagger blade, today on display at the Egyptian Museum in Cairo, contains nickel (10 wt%) and cobalt (0.6 wt%) in concentrations characteristically observed in iron meteorites. The study confirms that ancient Egyptians attributed great value to meteoritic iron for the production of precious objects, and the high manufacturing quality of Tutankhamun’s dagger blade is evidence of significant mastery of ironworking already in Tutankhamun’s time. Research was funded by the Italian Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation and the Egyptian Ministry of Scientific Research. Amongst the others, the research has been performed by Austin Nevin, researcher at CNR-IFN, expert of spectroscopic analysis of ancient materials.

The research has been published on the international journal"Meteoritics and Planetary Science"

Presentation at the Lunder Conservation Center, Washington D.C. 2014

Recent open access work by Nevin and his group has been published here:

A Photoluminescence Study of the Changes Induced in the Zinc White Pigment by Formation of Zinc Complexes  in Materials,doi:10.3390/ma10040340