Sourcing limestone masonry for restoration of historic buildings, a spectroscopic pilot study

Laurence Hopkinson, Ken Rutt, Petra Kristova, Joan Blows, Callum Firth

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


This study presents a combined Fourier transform (FT) mid-infrared, laser Raman and Commission Internationale d’Eclairage (CIE) L*a*b* system analysis of quarry-derived impure limestone and fallen masonry from a medieval listed building situated in the south east of England, to ascertain how spectroscopic information can be collectively employed to identify the most exacting possible replacement stone source. Data shows that subtle differences in [Al] and [Fe3+] octahedral and tetrahedral site occupancy in glauconite group clays registered in the mid-infrared [3530cm-1/3620cm-1] absorption ratio exerts some influence on L*Cab*hab* values. Increases in L* and Cab are associated with decreasing clay content. The overall weakness of correlations between infrared and visible range spectral attributes indicates multiple contributing sources to overall color. Evidence indicates that the degree of laser Raman induced background noise is related to the overall calcite content and that activators of fluorescence at 785nm excitation wave length may also contribute to rock color. The results are utilized to define closest matching quarry samples to the fallen masonry.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)822-830
Number of pages9
JournalJournal of Cultural Heritage
Issue number6
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 2015

Bibliographical note

© 2015. This manuscript version is made available under the CC-BY-NC-ND 4.0 license


  • Mid-infrared
  • Raman
  • CIE L*a*b*
  • Limestone
  • Masonry
  • Provenance
  • Environmental resource management


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