Science of the Total Environment
Marking petroglyphs with chalk is a common practice to enhance them for documentation and reproduction. Although this procedure has started to be less frequently used, there is no knowledge about the interaction between the rock engravings nor about the effectiveness achieved by the common cleaning procedures of such markers considering the chalk extraction and the induced damage to the rock. This study evaluates the interaction between two chalks of different composition (calcite and gypsum) and a granite on which the majority of NW Iberian Peninsula-petroglyphs are carved. Granitic samples marked with these chalks were subjected to artificial rain events and high temperatures (700 °C) related to fires. After each aging test, chemical and physical modifications on the rock were analysed by means of stereomicroscopy, x-ray diffraction, Fourier transform infrared spectroscopy, scanning electron microscopy and colour spectrophotometry. Moreover, the evaluation of the effectiveness and harmfulness of several mechanical and chemical cleaning procedures commonly used in the field of cultural heritage conservation was carried out. Both chalks remained at different extent on the surface after the artificial rain events. Water would promote a different penetration-depth of the chalks into the stone, depending on their solubility. High temperatures led to mineral phase transformations of the chalks influencing the interaction with the rock. Regarding cleaning effectiveness, despite a few chalk remains were found in all the cleanings, chemical methods showed higher effectiveness than mechanical procedures even though some of them leave chemical contamination. Benzalkonium chloride can be considered as the cleaner with the best results to extract both types of chalk on granite. © 2017 Elsevier B.V.
Year of publication: 2018