We use cookies to ensure that we give you the best experience on our website. You can change your cookie settings at any time. Otherwise, we'll assume you're OK to continue.

Durham University

Department of Archaeology

All Research Projects

Conservation Theory

A research project of the Department of Archaeology.


The development of judgement in young conservators and the creation of conceptual frameworks for thinking about conservation to aid conservators, curators and archaeologists is one of Dr Chris Caple’s key research areas. It draws on his experience developed during nearly 30 years of teaching conservation and prior to that working as the artefacts conservator at York Castle Museum. He has recently explored the concepts such as the aims of conservation in his chapter in the book Principles of Conservation’, (eds.) Braker & Richmond (pub 2009) and the RIP triangle method for exploring and explaining conservation in The Conservation of Archaeological Materials: Current Trends and Future Directions, BAR International Series 2116’, (eds) Williams & Peachey (pub 2010). His original textbook on this subject Conservation Skills Judgement Method and Decision Making (pub 2000) continues to be widely used in teaching conservation. It was joined in 2011 by Preventive Conservation in Museums’  a reader that pulls together the key papers on this subject and provides a holistic exposition of what preventive conservation is and how it is developing.

New research to be published in 2018 explores the problems of identifying artefacts in the iron concretions recovered during archaeological excavation using film and digital X-radiography and how their archaeological value can be efficiently determined ; Caple C. & Garlick V. Archaeological Surveying at the Artefactual Level:Digital X-Radiography, Journal of the Institute of Conservation vol. 41.

Preventive Conservation in Museums book cover


From the Department of Archaeology

Scottish Soldiers Project

Cooperating with the Palace Museum in China