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Archaeological investigations (archaeometry)

Anastasia Rousaki (UGent) , Luc Moens (UGent) and Peter Vandenabeele (UGent)
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Abstract
Archaeometry is the research area on the edge between humanities and natural sciences: it uses and optimises methods from chemistry, spectroscopy, physics, biology, etc. to help answering research questions from humanities. In general, these objects are investigated for several reasons. Besides the fundamental interest to know about the materials that were used in the past, the study of artefacts can support their preservation, either by helping to select optimal storage or display conditions, either by investigating decay pathways and suggesting solutions. Other reasons for art analysis include provenance studies, dating the artefact or identifying forgeries. Since several years, Raman spectroscopy is increasingly applied for the investigation of objects of art or archaeology. The technique is well-appreciated for the limited (or even absent) sample preparation, the relative straightforward interpretation of the spectra (by fingerprinting - comparing them against a database of reference pigments) and its speed of analysis. Moreover, the small spectral footprint - allowing to record a molecular spectrum of particles down to 1 mu m, the typical size of pigment grains - is certainly a positive property of the technique. Raman spectroscopy can be considered as rather versatile, as inorganic as well as organic materials can be studied, and as the technique can gather information on crystalline as well as on non-crystalline phases. As a consequence, Raman spectroscopy can be used to study antique objects and twentieth-century synthetic (organic) materials - illustrating the wide range of applications. Finally, the technique is as non-destructive, provided the laser power is kept sufficiently low not to damage the artwork. In literature, the terms "non-invasive" and "non-destructive" are used, where the first term means that no sampling is involved, and the latter term indicates that no sample is taken or that during analysis the sample is not consumed (destroyed) and remains available for further analysis.
Keywords
OFFSET RAMAN-SPECTROSCOPY, SURFACE-ENHANCED RAMAN, X-RAY-FLUORESCENCE, WORKS-OF-ART, PREHISTORIC ROCK-PAINTINGS, IN-SITU INVESTIGATIONS, MICRO-RAMAN, OPEN-AIR, CHEMICAL INTERROGATION, MEDIEVAL MANUSCRIPTS

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Citation

Please use this url to cite or link to this publication:

Chicago
Rousaki, Anastasia, Luc Moens, and Peter Vandenabeele. 2018. “Archaeological Investigations (archaeometry).” Physical Sciences Reviews 3 (9).
APA
Rousaki, A., Moens, L., & Vandenabeele, P. (2018). Archaeological investigations (archaeometry). PHYSICAL SCIENCES REVIEWS, 3(9).
Vancouver
1.
Rousaki A, Moens L, Vandenabeele P. Archaeological investigations (archaeometry). PHYSICAL SCIENCES REVIEWS. 2018;3(9).
MLA
Rousaki, Anastasia, Luc Moens, and Peter Vandenabeele. “Archaeological Investigations (archaeometry).” PHYSICAL SCIENCES REVIEWS 3.9 (2018): n. pag. Print.
@article{8581516,
  abstract     = {Archaeometry is the research area on the edge between humanities and natural sciences: it uses and optimises methods from chemistry, spectroscopy, physics, biology, etc. to help answering research questions from humanities. In general, these objects are investigated for several reasons. Besides the fundamental interest to know about the materials that were used in the past, the study of artefacts can support their preservation, either by helping to select optimal storage or display conditions, either by investigating decay pathways and suggesting solutions. Other reasons for art analysis include provenance studies, dating the artefact or identifying forgeries. Since several years, Raman spectroscopy is increasingly applied for the investigation of objects of art or archaeology. The technique is well-appreciated for the limited (or even absent) sample preparation, the relative straightforward interpretation of the spectra (by fingerprinting - comparing them against a database of reference pigments) and its speed of analysis. Moreover, the small spectral footprint - allowing to record a molecular spectrum of particles down to 1 mu m, the typical size of pigment grains - is certainly a positive property of the technique. Raman spectroscopy can be considered as rather versatile, as inorganic as well as organic materials can be studied, and as the technique can gather information on crystalline as well as on non-crystalline phases. As a consequence, Raman spectroscopy can be used to study antique objects and twentieth-century synthetic (organic) materials - illustrating the wide range of applications. Finally, the technique is as non-destructive, provided the laser power is kept sufficiently low not to damage the artwork. In literature, the terms {\textacutedbl}non-invasive{\textacutedbl} and {\textacutedbl}non-destructive{\textacutedbl} are used, where the first term means that no sampling is involved, and the latter term indicates that no sample is taken or that during analysis the sample is not consumed (destroyed) and remains available for further analysis.},
  articleno    = {20170048},
  author       = {Rousaki, Anastasia and Moens, Luc and Vandenabeele, Peter},
  issn         = {2365-6581},
  journal      = {PHYSICAL SCIENCES REVIEWS},
  language     = {eng},
  number       = {9},
  pages        = {9},
  title        = {Archaeological investigations (archaeometry)},
  url          = {http://dx.doi.org/10.1515/psr-2017-0048},
  volume       = {3},
  year         = {2018},
}

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