Senior researcher (Directeur de recherche), ENS Paris-Saclay, France


I am a senior researcher in the chemistry department of the École normale supérieure Paris-Saclay, which is part of the Université Paris-Saclay since 2022. I head the research theme on ancient and palaeo-inspired materials and teach. I am the coordinator of the Key Research and Innovation Sector on Tangible Heritage of the Île-de-France region with L. Romary, I. Rouget and A. Thomas and L. de Viguerie which includes 135 laboratories and institutions. I coordinate the Atoms for Heritage collaborating center of the International Atomic Energy Agency since 2021 with S. Nomade and S. David.

My group's research focuses on the study of the properties of ancient materials using full-field and scanning micro-imaging. I study long-term ageing processes and the exceptional preservation of biological remains and archaeological materials, manufacturing techniques used in the past, and the origin of materials used to produce archaeological objects. I develop multiscale photonic methodological approaches, notably using synchrotron methods, in collaboration with instrumentalists and data scientists. My projects have been mainly supported by CPER funds, ANR / LabEx and EquipEx funds, regional funds, the European Commission, the American NSF and the Dutch research funding agency NWO.

As a physico-chemist, I have studied materials from archaeology, cultural heritage, paleoenvironment and palaeontology at the C2RMF (Paris, 1999-2002), the University of Cambridge (UK, 2002-2003), the Laboratoire de Physique des solides (Orsay, 2004-2005), the SOLEIL synchrotron (2005-2020), IPANEMA (2007-2020) and PPSM (since 2022). I initiated and built the European laboratory for research on ancient materials IPANEMA and have been its director from 2010 to 2019. I have coordinated the participation of France in the European Research Infrastructure for Heritage Science (E-RIHS) from 2015 to 2022, and have been the scientific director of E-RIHS during its preparatory phase.

Main research interests

Physico-chemistry of the long-term alteration and exceptional preservation of biological remains in archaeological and palaeontological contexts (micro-taphonomy of soft and hard tissues, textiles, hair)
Development of spectral imaging approaches for ancient materials based on synchrotron and photonic methods (X-ray absorption, X-ray microtomography, UV/vis photoluminescence, X-ray Raman)
Advanced study of artists' materials (pigments, semiconducting phases, varnishes)
Development of materials and processes inspired by ancient materials (paleo-inspiration)
Photo-induced molecular effects on complex ancient materials and approaches for safer conditions of analysis
Interdisciplinary methodologies and innovation in heritage sciences