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Care of Ruins

Ruination exposes fragile building structures to weathering in ways which could not have been foreseen by their builders. Conservation must balance preservation against appearance and archaeological value. Historic England has been researching various ways of assessing, treating, and protecting exposed archaeology, and looking at the implications of plant growth on ruins.

Care of ruins research
Ruins can display very complex deterioration, as it does here at Howden Minster Chapter House in Yorkshire, where after much detailed research the accelerated decay of the magnesian limestone stonework was traced to the addition of a roof in the 1980s. © Tobit Curteis Associates


Conserving a Medieval Tiled Floor: using the excavated pavement at Cleeve Abbey to understand how exposed tiles deteriorate, and design long-term protection

Ivy on Ruined Walls: examining the impact of ivy - which can cause damage, but will also protect from weathering – and finding the best balance for long-term preservation of buildings as well as ruins

Soft Capping of Ruined Walls: comparing the impact on ruined walls of ‘soft’ capping with grass and other plants and than ‘hard’ capping with cement, and determining the best methods and materials

Protective Shelters: comparing the long-term results of different types of shelter over excavated mosaics

Treating Microbial Growth with UV light: testing the feasibility of reducing the growth of disfiguring algae and other microbiological growths using controlled exposure to UV light

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