Objectives

 

The project aims to use Raman spectroscopy, extending the boundaries of its scope beyond what hitherto realized, firstly as a means for solving archaeological problems that are currently the focus of scientific debate (but that do not find solution through the use of traditional techniques and interpretations), in particular as regards the problems of dating. The nature of the project provides for the systematic creation of a laboratory dedicated to the analysis of archaeological artifacts with the use of Raman spectroscopy. New perspectives in the study and understanding of archaeological data may result from the Raman analysis of the collection of these archaeological artifacts, with the possibility to recognize traces of old paint, chemical composition of pigments and clays which objects are made. The data about colours, far from being purely a question of style and taste, becomes a fundamental distinction in a diachronic corpus of objects with similar shape, content and, probably meaning. Above all, the ability of Raman analysis to recognize the presence of ancient pigments, now missing, involves a total re-evaluation of some classes of objects, too often indexed according to standardized types, where the element of painting creates new ways of interpreting the data of material culture, a distinction not only of shapes, styles and iconography, but, more significantly, uses and meanings of these objects in daily life, in every type of archaeological context. Moreover, the painting, by the Raman analysis, might become a dating attribute with, consequently, the opportunity to further the investigation: the colour is a contemporary production of the object or is a later addition, which then leads to a re-use in ancient object maybe with a different intended use and function.

Detailed examination of materials such as clay for pottery production can provide information useful for their structural characterization and identification in space (as a geographic area) and time. In fact, at the micrometer level, ceramics often consist of several phases of which the composition and size depend on the technology used, and then on the historic period of formation. The Raman and micro-Raman analysis allow to identify the main elements but also their crystallographic phase. The paints and materials used to decorate a surface are materials with their own vibrational spectrum, and then with a Raman spectrum which identifies them uniquely.