Application of Spectrometric Analyses to Cultural Heritage

A special issue of Minerals (ISSN 2075-163X). This special issue belongs to the section "Mineral Geochemistry and Geochronology".

Deadline for manuscript submissions: closed (31 July 2023) | Viewed by 6179

Special Issue Editors


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Guest Editor
Department of Biology, Ecology and Earth Sciences, University of Calabria, 87036 Arcavacata, Italy
Interests: microanalytical techniques; laser ablation ICP-MS; provenance; obsidian; degradation of stone; mortars
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Guest Editor
Department of Biological, Geological and Environmental Sciences, University of Bologna, 48123 Ravenna, Italy
Interests: stone materials; conservation; degradation processes; environment; consolidants and protective coatings

Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

The application of analytical techniques to cultural heritage is highly adaptable and can shed light on important questions regarding different materials in different contexts. Thus, the study of cultural heritage through a systematic analytical approach allows the researcher to both identify the materials and technologies employed in the past and examine the processes of degradation in specific environmental conditions, including both indoor and outdoor settings (e.g., in museums). Moreover, the analytical techniques applied to cultural heritage can help researchers to identify the sources of raw materials and to develop and test models of trade and socio-economic interactions. In addition, this analytical approach can provide useful information for restorers, with the aim of establishing efficient conservation and restoration strategies and clarifying the degradation processes of stone materials and other ancient objects.

While it is often impossible or difficult to obtain samples from artefacts of historical and artistic value, the use of micro-destructive techniques has acquired greater relevance in current archaeometric research.

The methods of spectrometric analysis (ICP-MS, LA-ICP-MS, RAMAN, etc.) have gradually acquired greater scientific significance because they can help to answer specific research questions and are a powerful tool for the characterization of ancient materials.

This Special Issue aims to discuss and present the recent results yielded from the application of analytical techniques to cultural heritage studies, focusing on the analysis of pigments, stones, metals, glass, ceramics, and mortars.

Both methodological and practical contributions are welcome.

Dr. Donatella Barca
Dr. Natalia Rovella
Guest Editors

Manuscript Submission Information

Manuscripts should be submitted online at www.mdpi.com by registering and logging in to this website. Once you are registered, click here to go to the submission form. Manuscripts can be submitted until the deadline. All submissions that pass pre-check are peer-reviewed. Accepted papers will be published continuously in the journal (as soon as accepted) and will be listed together on the special issue website. Research articles, review articles as well as short communications are invited. For planned papers, a title and short abstract (about 100 words) can be sent to the Editorial Office for announcement on this website.

Submitted manuscripts should not have been published previously, nor be under consideration for publication elsewhere (except conference proceedings papers). All manuscripts are thoroughly refereed through a single-blind peer-review process. A guide for authors and other relevant information for submission of manuscripts is available on the Instructions for Authors page. Minerals is an international peer-reviewed open access monthly journal published by MDPI.

Please visit the Instructions for Authors page before submitting a manuscript. The Article Processing Charge (APC) for publication in this open access journal is 2400 CHF (Swiss Francs). Submitted papers should be well formatted and use good English. Authors may use MDPI's English editing service prior to publication or during author revisions.

Keywords

  • cultural heritage
  • ICP-MS
  • LA-ICP-MS
  • RAMAN
  • archaeometry
  • stone materials

Published Papers (6 papers)

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Research

13 pages, 20292 KiB  
Article
Archaeometric Analyses of dolia of the Final Bronze Age/Early Iron Age Found at Gagliato (CZ)–Calabria–Southern Italy
by Anna Maria De Francesco, Antonina Maria Tucci, Adriano Guido, Anna Rao and Donatella Barca
Minerals 2023, 13(11), 1422; https://doi.org/10.3390/min13111422 - 08 Nov 2023
Viewed by 690
Abstract
In the hinterland of Soverato (in the Catanzaro province CZ) in Calabria, Italy, in the territory of Gagliato, on a series of terraced plains, the remains of an extensive settlement have been identified with archaeological evidence that includes the various phases of the [...] Read more.
In the hinterland of Soverato (in the Catanzaro province CZ) in Calabria, Italy, in the territory of Gagliato, on a series of terraced plains, the remains of an extensive settlement have been identified with archaeological evidence that includes the various phases of the protohistoric period and the Greek age. In the settlement, numerous protohistoric ceramic finds consisting in fragments of vascular shapes of various sizes and large dolia were recovered. This paper presents the preliminary results of the mineralogical, petrographic and paleontological analyses performed on dolia samples selected on the basis of the typology and the characteristics of the ceramic impasto. The dolia analyses were obtained through various analytical techniques. Petrographic and micropaleontological studies were performed using polarized optical microscopy (POM). The mineralogical analyses were carried out using X-ray diffractometry (XRD), both on selected ceramics and on the clayey and sandy sediments sampled for comparison around the settlement area. Furthermore, micromorphological observations have been performed, using scanning electron microscopy (SEM), on selected foraminiferal tests picked up from the clay sediments collected in the study area. Data highlight the remarkable compatibility between the mineralogical composition of the dolia and the sampled sediments, and they confirm that the raw materials for ceramic production may have occurred in an area not far from the settlement, as assumed by archaeologists. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Application of Spectrometric Analyses to Cultural Heritage)
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14 pages, 12958 KiB  
Article
External Reflection FTIR Spectroscopy Applied to Archaeological Pottery: A Non-Invasive Investigation about Provenance and Firing Temperature
by Silvia Bruni, Margherita Longoni, Francesca De Filippi, Noemi Calore and Giovanna Bagnasco Gianni
Minerals 2023, 13(9), 1211; https://doi.org/10.3390/min13091211 - 15 Sep 2023
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 1105
Abstract
The mineralogical composition of archaeological pottery is closely related to the raw material and the firing conditions, thus constituting a source of information both on the origin and the manufacturing technology of ceramic artefacts. The techniques used to clarify the composition of the [...] Read more.
The mineralogical composition of archaeological pottery is closely related to the raw material and the firing conditions, thus constituting a source of information both on the origin and the manufacturing technology of ceramic artefacts. The techniques used to clarify the composition of the ceramic material from the point of view of the mineralogical phases include X-ray diffraction (XRD), Fourier-transform infrared spectroscopy (FTIR) and petrographic analysis. Such techniques normally require the taking of a sample from the object, thus often limiting their applicability to sherds rather than intact vessels. The present study aims to investigate the possibility of applying reflection FTIR spectroscopy in the mid- and near-IR to the non-invasive analysis of the mineralogical composition of archaeological pottery, with reference to a set of Etruscan ceramic materials from the excavation of Tarquinia (Italy). Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Application of Spectrometric Analyses to Cultural Heritage)
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17 pages, 11505 KiB  
Article
Paint, Colour, and Style: The Contribution of Minerals to the Palette of the Descent from the Cross, Attributed to the Portuguese Painter Francisco João (act. 1558–1595)
by Helena P. Melo, António João Cruz, Jana Sanyova, Sara Valadas and Ana Margarida Cardoso
Minerals 2023, 13(9), 1182; https://doi.org/10.3390/min13091182 - 08 Sep 2023
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 913
Abstract
The paint materials and techniques of The Descent from Cross, a panel painting attributed to the Portuguese painter Francisco João (act. 1558–1595), were investigated with a combination of visible, ultraviolet, and infrared imaging and an analysis of paint samples with microscopic, spectroscopic, [...] Read more.
The paint materials and techniques of The Descent from Cross, a panel painting attributed to the Portuguese painter Francisco João (act. 1558–1595), were investigated with a combination of visible, ultraviolet, and infrared imaging and an analysis of paint samples with microscopic, spectroscopic, and chromatographic techniques. The colour palette is composed of lead white, lead–tin yellow, minium, vermilion, ochres of different colours, umber, smalt, azurite, verdigris, charcoal black, and a variety of different-coloured red lakes made of brazilwood and cochineal. An oil-based medium was identified. The characterisation of the pigment mixtures, paint build-up, and particular paint handling techniques enabled us to determine their role in the style and formal appearance of this painting and to discuss Portuguese painting practices in the larger context of 16th-century European painting. Mineral and elemental associations or impurities in the blue pigments, as well as degradation issues affecting minium, and smalt paints were reported. In particular, the deterioration of the glass matrix in some of the smalt particles mixed in lead white paint raises special concern. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Application of Spectrometric Analyses to Cultural Heritage)
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15 pages, 4430 KiB  
Article
Obsidian Artifacts from Multiple Sources and Subsources at Valdesi in Western Sicily
by Robert H. Tykot, Vincenza Forgia and Franco Foresta Martin
Minerals 2023, 13(8), 1093; https://doi.org/10.3390/min13081093 - 16 Aug 2023
Viewed by 1146
Abstract
Forty-two obsidian artifacts excavated at the site of Valdesi in western Sicily were analyzed to determine their geological sources and to reconstruct trade patterns. Non-destructive analysis was performed using a portable, non-destructive X-ray fluorescence spectrometer, with the calibrated element’s composition values compared directly [...] Read more.
Forty-two obsidian artifacts excavated at the site of Valdesi in western Sicily were analyzed to determine their geological sources and to reconstruct trade patterns. Non-destructive analysis was performed using a portable, non-destructive X-ray fluorescence spectrometer, with the calibrated element’s composition values compared directly with a dataset of geological samples from the Mediterranean and European sources that were analyzed with the same instrument. The results, based on straightforward X-Y graphs using the trace elements Rb, Sr, Y, Zr, and Nb, showed the presence of obsidian from two subsources on Lipari (Gabellotto Gorge, Canneto Dentro), two on Pantelleria (Balata dei Turchi, Lago di Venere), and one on Sardinia. The majority coming from Lipari coincided with the location of Valdesi, and nearly 20% came from Pantelleria, both consistent with the overall distribution patterns for Sicily, while the one from Sardinia is a unique discovery. These results are discussed in terms of the time period and context for Valdesi, as well as the open-water and land-based routes that must have been taken. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Application of Spectrometric Analyses to Cultural Heritage)
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17 pages, 6035 KiB  
Article
The Fontanamare Discovery (Sardinia Coast, Italy), a Case of Underwater Corrosion of Bronze Coins
by Tilde de Caro, Fiammetta Susanna, Mauro Francesco La Russa and Andrea Macchia
Minerals 2023, 13(8), 1085; https://doi.org/10.3390/min13081085 - 14 Aug 2023
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 902
Abstract
This study reports the analytical approach towards nine coins found in wreck A of Fontanamare for understanding the complex corrosion processes that take place in underwater conditions. Optical microscopy (OM) combined with micro-Raman (µ-Raman) spectroscopy, X-ray diffractometry (XRD), and scanning electron microscopy with [...] Read more.
This study reports the analytical approach towards nine coins found in wreck A of Fontanamare for understanding the complex corrosion processes that take place in underwater conditions. Optical microscopy (OM) combined with micro-Raman (µ-Raman) spectroscopy, X-ray diffractometry (XRD), and scanning electron microscopy with energy-dispersive X-ray spectroscopy (SEM and EDS) were used to analyze the nature and the microstructure of the corrosion patina in comparison with the non-degraded state of coins. Three main types of corrosion patina based on copper, lead chloride, and carbonate were identified: black, white, and green, and the obtained results demonstrate the complex corrosion processes that take place in underwater conditions. To better understand the role played by different chemical and physical parameters in the corrosion of bronze artefacts in an underwater environment, this study attempts to understand the nature of the patinas on the coins in relation to the specific structural and environmental parameter variation. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Application of Spectrometric Analyses to Cultural Heritage)
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12 pages, 3234 KiB  
Article
Smoky Wood-Fired Ancient Glass Furnaces: Carbon Analysis of Roman Glass by 2.0 MeV Deuteron Activation Technique
by Chaturvedula S. Sastri, Thierry Sauvage, Olivier Wendling, Aurélien Bellamy and Christian Humburg
Minerals 2023, 13(8), 1001; https://doi.org/10.3390/min13081001 - 28 Jul 2023
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 787
Abstract
To understand the wood-fuel contamination problems faced by the ancient glass industry, some Roman glass fragments and beads were analysed for carbon by the elegant, non-destructive deuteron activation technique based on C-12(d,n)N-13 nuclear reaction. Carbon was found in all analysed glasses, covering a [...] Read more.
To understand the wood-fuel contamination problems faced by the ancient glass industry, some Roman glass fragments and beads were analysed for carbon by the elegant, non-destructive deuteron activation technique based on C-12(d,n)N-13 nuclear reaction. Carbon was found in all analysed glasses, covering a mass concentration range from 160 ppm to 2.2%, indicating that some fuel contamination was present in all samples. The higher concentration of 0.94 to 2.2% observed in some beads indicates that carbon was added intentionally as a “component” to the glass melt to obtain an amber colour. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Application of Spectrometric Analyses to Cultural Heritage)
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