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This short introduction aims to rethink the role of modern mineralogy and highlights the diverse and important contributions that it may provide in the study of materials and processes relevant to cultural heritage. It is argued that mineralogy lies in a very special position between Earth and materials sciences and that mineralogists have a profound perception of the structural and chemical complexity of natural materials. They possess knowledge of both the ancient and recent geological and physicochemical processes which produced the raw materials used by humans, and of the analogue processes used to transform them into artefacts. It is thus highly appropriate that a volume in the EMU series acknowledges some of the recent contributions of mineralogy to the investigation of human history, art and technology.

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