This paper examines the production technology of Egyptian blue, an ancient artificial pigment, through the investigation of an unsuccessfully produced pellet derived from the Hellenistic production site of Kos (Dodecanese, Greece). This heterogeneous material was investigated by a combination of laboratory and synchrotron radiation-based (SR) techniques: scanning electron microscopy coupled with energy-dispersive X-ray spectrometry, micro-Raman spectroscopy, high-resolution SR micro-X-ray fluorescence spectroscopy, and SR micro-X-ray absorption near-edge structure spectroscopy (XANES), at the ID21 beamline of the European Synchrotron Radiation Facility. Principal component analysis of a large dataset of 171 micro-XANES spectra acquired on the archaeological samples and on a series of reference copper compounds emphasizes high variations of XANES features due to different speciation and also orientation effects, as demonstrated by the simulated XANES spectra. The results indicate that, rather than inadequate firing temperatures that could have led to the reddish cuprite (Cu2O), unsuccessful production may occur due to the use of inappropriate starting materials, which contain an unusually high iron content. The contextual interpretation underlines the intertwined relationship between the production of Egyptian blue and metallurgy.
|Numero di pagine||11|
|Stato di pubblicazione||Published - 2021|
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