Archaeometallurgical studies using nuclear analytical methods on Romanian museum gold, silver and bronze artifacts (Arheomet)
The application of nuclear analytical techniques, developed originally in the field of material sciences (techniques based on physical and chemical phenomena) in the study of art and archaeological objects offers the historian and the archaeologist quantitative information that can be helpful for understanding ancient societies. This kind of information is useful in order to prepare and carry on artefacts' restoration and/or for testing the authenticity of objects proposed for acquisition. Moreover, the cultural heritage artefacts are subjected to degradation through the aging process which must be understood on the one hand at the causes level, and on the other hand, on its dynamic, in order to find the best solutions to prevent or decelerate it. All these objectives are common to a large scientific community, which activates in the field of archaeometry, i.e. the "application of science to art and archaeology". In the case of metal objects investigation, this scientific filed is called "archaeometallurgy". For this kind of research it is absolutely necessary the designing of an interdisciplinary community. Due to the European and even international character of history and archaeology, the research in the filed of archaeometry must be undertaken within excellence networks which should set up a close connection between archaeologists, museographs, historians, physicists and chemists from different museums, cultural institutions and research institutions, eventually interconnected at international level. This situation is a reality in the present economic climate, when it is obvious that the museums cannot develop on their own performant analytical methods, depending thus on physicists and chemists' expertise in the field. The necessity of collaboration between archaeologists, historians and researchers from the field of natural sciences becomes therefore a requirement at European, as well as national level.
The present project aims the designing of a national research network in the domain of archaeometallurgy, comprising the National Institute for Research-Development for Physics and Nuclear Engineering "Horia Hulubei" (IFIN-HH), the Romanian National History Museum, Bucharest (MNIR), Romanian Academy Institute of Archaeology "Vasile Pārvan", Bucharest (IAVP) and the Faculty of History, University of Bucharest (FIUB), network with European connections as well (COST G8, UE FP6 TARI, EU-ARTECH). Through its activity, this network will contribute to the education and formation of the future European Union citizen, assuring the knowledge and respect of the European diversity in terms of culture, institutions, history, language and heritage values.
Furthermore, the project will seek to create databases with the compositions of several gold, silver and bronze objects (adornment and every day objects, coins, weapons) from the Romanian museum heritage, in connexion with the provenience aspects (auriferous, argentiferous and cooper ores), fabrications technologies, manufacture workshops and diffusion problems (military and commercial aspects), using XRF, SR-XRF, PIXE and micro-PIXE analytical techniques.
Using the financing obtained through the present project, we intend to purchase a portable XRF spectrometer and to set up a working procedure for in situ compositional analyze, in order to establish the analyze of heritage metal objects in museums and on archaeological fields, avoiding thus the transport of a number of patrimony objects, sometimes extremely valuable or with a precarious conservation state; on the basis of this modern experimental equipment, we aim to perform competitive archaeomteric research-at European and wide-world level.
Regarding the fact that during the last years in archaeometry a new trend has appeared, namely the powerful implication of informatics and communication technologies (ICT), which can be used to the professional development of the ones activating in this field through available methods of instructions, such as e-manuals and/or digital cultural resources (e.g. websites specialized for professionals of the museum research, students or even visitors of the museums), the present project intends to collect interest data, from the speciality bibliography, to lexicons, on-line courses on restoring and study procedures, reports and studies regarding the archaeometric potential of the analytical techniques based on the detection of characteristic X-rays (XRF, PIXE, micro-PIXE, Sr-XRF), illustrated with experimental examples taken from the databases set up in the foregoing phases.
In the field of archaeometry, an important role is played by the elemental analyze, meaning determination of the chemical elements present in a certain object and the proportion in which these are found in the respective object. Until the 1960s, the chemical techniques of analysis were the only available in the field of archaeometry. Since then, many techniques based on physical phenomena have been developed, such as X-Ray Fluorescence (XRF), electron microscopes, various types of mass spectrometry based on different absorption or emission processes, etc. More recently, techniques based on the use of accelerated ions, the so-called Ion Beam Analysis (IBA) techniques - Particle Induced X-ray Emission (PIXE), Particle Induced Gamma ray Emission (PIGE), Rutherford Back-Scattering (RBS) - proved their usefulness in the field of archaeometry. All these techniques can be applied for the study of various archaeological objects: paint layers, pottery, glass, enamels, obsidians, stone tools, bronze, silver and gold coins, gold jewelry items. Due to the European and even international characteristics of art and archaeology, scientists united their efforts in order to establish networks of excellence, which comprise physicists, chemists, archaeologists and conservators from different laboratories and museums. One excellent example is the case of the European Union COST (CO-operation through Science and Technology) actions in the field of archaeometry, in which the Romanian participation was remarkable.
COST G1 action - "Application of Ion Beam Analysis to Art or Archaeological Objects" - launched in 1995 - was the first COST action specially devoted to cultural heritage research. The action ran for five years and involved the participation of twelve member countries. The action focused on the development and application of Ion Beam Analysis techniques (mostly PIXE, PIGE and RBS) in the cultural heritage field with particular emphasis on the comparison of these analysis techniques with conventional investigation methods of objects of art already used in museums' laboratories, establishing an interdisciplinary researchers forum involved in archaeology and archaeometry.
The participants in COST G1 action were:
- Academy of Fine Arts, Vienna, Austria
- Kunsthistorisches Museum, Vienna, Austria
- Facultes Universitaires Notre-Dame de la Paix, Namur, Belgium
- Universite de Liege, Belgium
- University of Antwerp, Belgium
- Finnish National Gallery/Museum of Contemporary Art, Helsinki, Finland
- Laboratoire de Recherche et de Restauration des Musees de France, CNRS, Palais du Louvre, Paris, France
- Centre Ernest Babelon, Orleans, France
- Forschungszentrum Rossendorf, Institut fur Ionenstrahlphysik und Materialforschung, Dresden, Germany
- Hahn-Meitner Institut, Berlin, Germany
- NCSR 'Demokritos', Ag. Paraskevi, Greece
- Instituto Nazionale di Fisica Nucleare, Sezione di Genova, Italy
- Universita degli Studi din Firenze, Italy
- Oxford University, Great Britain
- National Institute of Nuclear Physics and Engineering "Horia Hulubei", Bucharest, Romania
- Josef Stefan Institute, Ljubljana, Slovenia
- Universidad Autonoma de Madrid, Spain
- Centro Nacional de Aceleradores, Seville
- Research Institute for Particle and Nuclear Physics, Budapest, Hungary
- ATOMKI, Institute of Nuclear Research, Debrecen, Hungary
The output of the COST G1 action included approximately 30 joint publications and two monographies. Among these joint publications must be mentioned two papers that summarize the results obtained in the frame of COST G1 co-operation by the archaeometry group from IFIN-HH, Bucharest, Romania (dr. Bogdan Constantinescu and dr. Roxana Bugoi) and ATOMKI, Debrecen, Hungary. The two common projects dealt on the one hand, with the study of archaeological obsidian ("Obsidian provenance studies of Transylvania's Neolithic tools using PIXE, micro-PIXE and XRF" - B. Constantinescu, R. Bugoi, G. Sziki, Nuclear Instruments and Methods in Physics Research B 189 (2002), 373-377), and on the other hand with the study of ancient Greek silver coins, ("Characterization of Dyrrachium silver coins by micro PIXE method" - I. Uzonyi, Roxana Bugoi, A. Sasianu, A. Z. Kiss, B. Constantinescu, M. Torbagyi, Nuclear Instruments and Methods in Physics Research B 161-163, (2000), pp. 748-752).
The success of COST G1 action was motivating and a new COST action in the field of archaeometry followed, namely COST G8 action "Non-destructive Analysis and Testing of Museum Objects" (2001-2006). Twenty-eight countries participated at this action, demonstrating thus a high level of demand for networking in the topic. The main objective of COST G8 Action was cultural heritage preservation and conservation improvement by increasing knowledge of museum objects through non-destructive analysis and testing. The usage of non-destructive non-conventional techniques, like those based on micro-fascicule (micro-PIXE and micro-Raman) or on sincroton radiation (powder diffraction or X-ray fluorescence induced by sincroton radiation) by multidisciplinary specialists teams, have allowed the community from the domain of archaeometry to obtain exhaustive information concerning the objects for study.
In the frame of this action, apart from the yearly workshops and Short Term Scientific Missions (STSM) between participating groups, separate working groups have been created. The working groups allowed a close collaboration and an extended and efficient exchange of knowledge within a specific topic, and therefore a more efficient way of publishing the obtained results. The following themes were addressed:
- Technology and authentification, involving the identification of the materials and their production techniques. Within this working group, two distinct but related topics were studied: (1) investigation and certification of ancient recipes, and (2) authentication of art and archaeological objects, i.e. the identification of fakes.
- Origin and provenance, including the characterization and location of the natural sources of raw materials used to manufacture different artifacts. The main goal was to establish patterns of raw material procurement, trade or exchange routes.
- Degradation, corrosion and ageing processes. This working group dealt with the problem of alteration of museum objects and the way non-destructive techniques can be used to measure this damage or monitor it in time.
- Preservation and conservation. The working group is concerned with the treatment of works of art in order to slow down deterioration, the identification of the nature and extent of damage, the causes of deterioration assessment. Work in this field also implies environment control in which the object is located, such as temperature, relative humidity and lighting monitoring, ensuring proper storage, support and security.
- Development of analysis procedures involving three main goals: (1) use and improvement of truly non-destructive techniques (not requiring a sample to be removed from the object), (2) information maximization and consumed volume minimization when a sample must be removed and (3) development of portable/mobile equipment in order that monitoring may be done on site.
Alongside COST G1 institutions, new members joined the COST G8 action:
- University of Ghent, Belgium
- The Nuclear Physics Institute, Rzez, Praga, Check Republic
- The National Museum of Denmark
- Paul Scherrer Institut PSI, Swiss National Museum, Zurich, Switzerland
- Musee des Antiquites Nationales, Saint-Germain-en-Laye, France
- Hebrew University of Jerusalem, Israel
- The Institute for Conservation & Restoration Studies, Malta
- Malta Centre for Restoration
- Photophysics and Laser Laboratory, Polish Academy of Sciences, Gdansk, Poland
- Romanian National History Museum
- Institute of Measurement Science, Slovak Academy of Sciences, Bratislava, Slovakia
- Daresbury Laboratory, UK
COST G8 action is a highly successful example of European co-operation. This is confirmed by the high number of joint papers, the huge interest and participation in the three training schools and the amount of national funding obtained as a result of the action. The research and collaborations in this COST action have indicated that a highly desirable outcome from conservation and archaeometric research is a fully restored object completed with an information set regarding origin, provenance, use, dating, and manufacture in a form suitable for both delivery to the public and journal publication. However, not a single technique can answer all the questions that may arise when investigating these aspects of an object. Instead, a synergistic combination of techniques (a technique cluster) which matches the problem at hand is required. As a consequence of the on-going COST G8 action success and based on the above-mentioned conclusion, a new COST action, called "Pathways towards improved understanding and conservation of the moveable cultural heritage" was proposed. This new action will have as a starting point the experience of G8 action, having the intention of developing the multi-technique, multi-disciplinary basis for analytical technique-based research in the area of cultural heritage by focusing on:
- Bringing conservators, curators, historians, archaeologists and analytical scientists together to create an environment solving problem where a synergy between the techniques is used.
- Critical investigation of several new or old, but seldom used in the field, techniques possibilities in order to provide necessary information for the archaeometric study (for example, techniques with high sensitivity or spatial resolution, techniques with chemical as well as elemental specificity, techniques which are/are not dependent on the crystalline state.)
- Considering the artifacts in all their complexity (remnant of the core material and altered material) not only for a better documentation, but also for their long-term conservation.
Demonstrating the twin concepts of the technique cluster and the critical pathway through the use of selected applications in archaeometry and conservation science.
IFIN-HH, Bucharest, Romania and MNIR, Bucharest, Romania, are among the promoters of this new COST Action.
A consortium between internationally distinguished European infrastructures operating in the field of artwork conservation has been established in the frame of FP6 EU research program. EU-ARTECH offers a coherent set of a Transnational Access program aiming at significantly improving the access of European researchers concerned with artwork and conservation studies to relevant existing or European infrastructures owned facilities. EU-ARTECH offers access to:
- I - AGLAE, a single high-level infrastructure - a modern particle accelerator, including a microbeam facility which allows the applications of PIXE, PIGe, RBS, PAA methods - located in Paris at the Palais du Louvre Flore Pavilion (CNRS-C2RMF), where non-destructive elemental composition studies are carried out with high sensitivity and precision, in a unique environment of art-historians, restorers and scientists with a large expertise on artwork studies and conservation;
- II - MOLAB, a unified group of joint infrastructures, located in Firenze and Perugia (UNI-PG, CNR-ICVBC, OPD, INOA), where a unique collection of portable instrumentations, together with competences on methods and materials, is available for in-situ non-destructive measurements.
The access is devoted to artwork studies and/or evaluation of conservation-restoration methods, directly in a museum room, on the scaffold of a restoration workshop as well as on an archaeological site. The research institutions are all operating in cooperative interdisciplinary programs with conservators, archaeologists and art-historians, and therefore represent in their own countries, an important model for the overall community concerned with study and conservation of cultural heritage.
This year, in the frame of EU-ARTECH, the archaeometry group from IFIN-HH proposed an AGLAE performed project regarding the study of archeological gold fragments. The project proposal was approved thus a preliminary experiment using the external micro-beam of this facility was performed.
- In the frame of FP5 and FP6 EU research programs there is another important mechanism for co-operation between the European scientists called Transnational Access to Research Infrastructure (TARI), allowing researchers to propose a scientific project and, if approved by a panel of experts, to perform the experiment using the most advanced research facilities from Europe, such as particle accelerators (synchrotrons included) and nuclear reactors. During the last five years, our group proposed successful projects and performed experiments at Forschungszentrum Rossendorf, Germany, Laboratori Nazionali di Legnaro, Italy and MAXLAB, Lund, Sweden. The results of these experiments were materialized in the publication of three papers:
- "Micro-PIXE study of gold archaeological objects" - R. Bugoi, V. Cojocaru, B. Constantinescu, F. Constantin, D. Grambole, F. Herrmann, which was published in Journal of Radioanalytical and Nuclear Chemistry, vol. 257, no. 2 (2003), pp. 375-383, "Potential of external IBA and LA-ICP-MS for compositional analysis of obsidian" - R. Bugoi, B. Constantinescu, F. Constantin, C. Neelmeijer, published in Nuclear Instruments and Methods in Physics Research B 226 (2004) 136-146
- "Romanian ancient gold objects provenance studies using micro-beam methods: the case of "Pietroasa" hoard" - B. Constantinescu, R. Bugoi, V. Cojocaru, D. Voiculescu, D. Grambole, F. Herrmann, D. Ceccato, Nuclear Instruments and Methods in Physics Research B 231 (2005) pp. 541-545.
In the last years, a new tendency appeared in archaeometry: the involvement of Informatics and Communication Technologies (ICT). ICT for content, creativity and personal development consists, in this case, in tools for enhanced learning technology (e.g. e-manuals) and digital cultural resources and assets (e.g. interdisciplinary specialized websites for professionals, students and museums visitors). Each important European archaeological or art community has developed such tools as websites and e-manuals, presenting their exhibits and research activities. For example, COST G8 action has the website: http://srs.dl.ac.uk/arch/cost-g8/. The archaeometry research contributes in this way to the education and formation of the EU citizen, building a shared understanding and respect for Europe's diversities in terms of culture, institutions, history, languages and values.
For all the above described research activities it is important to emphasize that the multidisciplinary community of action is essential. In the current economic climate - even at the European level - it is extremely difficult for museums to develop new analytical methods or techniques. The need for collaboration with experts in state-of-art analytical instrumentation is therefore fundamental and can lead to increasing knowledge and sophistication of equipment, which would otherwise be impossible in the small conservation and science groups in museums.
Potential beneficiary of the present project will be all the Romanian history and art museums (National Museum of Romania's History, Bucharest Municipal Museum, National Museum of Transylvania' History, National Fine Arts Museum, "Tarii Crisurilor" Oradea Museum, etc), Romanian Academy Archaeology Institute "Vasile Pārvan", Bucharest and all the Romanian History's and Art Faculties.
- Establishing an archaeometallurgy national network, involving the participation of the National Institute of Nuclear Physics and Engineering "Horia Hulubei", Bucharest (IFIN-HH); Romanian National Museum of History, Bucharest (MNIR); Faculty of History from Bucharest University (FI-UB), Romanian Academy Institute of Archaeology "Vasile Pārvan", Bucharest (IA-AR), with strong connections at European level (EU COST G8 action, EU-ARTECH, FP6 TARI);
- Elaborating, using XRF, SR-XRF and micro-PIXE techniques, a database for the composition of ancient gold objects from the Romanian patrimony, related with information regarding provenance (gold ores), workshops and circulation aspects (commercial and military problems);
- Elaborating, using XRF and PIXE techniques, a database for the composition of medieval Moldavian silver coins in relation with provenience (silver sources, silvering fakes etc), fake identification and historical aspects (military and commercial);
- Elaborating, using XRF and PIXE techniques, a database for the composition of Dacian silver jewelry and coins in relation with provenience (silver ores), technological procedures and manufacture workshops
- Elaborating, using XRF technique, a database for the composition of jewelry, coins and bronze objects in relation to their provenance (cooper and tin ores), technologies and manufacture workshops
- Acquiring a portable XRF spectrometer and elaborating a working procedure for in-situ compositional analysis regarding the study of heritage metal objects in museums and on archaeological field; using this advanced experimental equipment, we intend to perform European competitive research in the field of archaeometallurgy
- Elaborating an e-manual and a website regarding the archaeometric potential of analytical techniques based on the detection of characteristic X-rays (XRF, PIXE, micro-PIXE, SR-XRF), illustrated with experimental data taken from the databases established during the foregoing phases
For all the above described research activities it is important to emphasize that the multidisciplinary community of action is essential. Due to the European and international character of history and archaeology, the research in the field of archaeometry must be undertaken within excellence research networks in order to create a strong connection between archaeologists, museographs, historians, physicists and chemists from different museums, cultural institutions and research institutes. This is a constant reality in the current economic climate, when it is obvious that museums cannot develop on their own new analytical methods or techniques, cooperating thus with physicists and chemists. Through its activity, the archaeometallurgy network which will be established due to this project, will contribute to the education and development of the future European Union citizen, assuring thus the knowledge and the respect for European diversity at cultural, institutional, historical and lingual level. The present project will take account as well of the new tendency from the archaeometry field, namely the strong involvement of the Informatics and Communication technologies (ICT). ICT for content, creativity and personal development consists, in our case, in tools for technology-enhanced learning (e.g. e-manuals) and digital cultural resources and assets (e.g. interdisciplinary specialized websites for professionals, students and museums visitors). Through its objective, the project will have thus an educational and training function.
For the elemental composition determination of metal objects, several methods are used. Traditional chemical analyses offer a good precision and reproducibility, but imply the destruction - partial or total - of the analyzed objects. It is important to note that even if some methods are considered non-destructive from the chemists' point of view, they involve certain deterioration of the object and therefore cannot be used on archaeological artefacts. In the case of coins, jewellery and other items of historical value, especially when they are manufactured from precious metals, the visual appearance of the sample must not be altered in any way. It becomes thus obvious the need of non-destructive analytical methods to be used for archaeological metallic artefacts study. More recently developed, nuclear analytical methods turned out to be the most powerful and convenient means for the non-destructive elemental analysis of such valuable artefacts. These non-destructive spectroscopic methods for archaeometrical research are: X-Ray Fluorescence (XRF), Particle Induced X-ray Emission (PIXE) and Instrumental Neutron Activation Analysis (INAA). These techniques present the advantage of non-destructivity, being thus essential for the investigation of unique objects, such as museum artefacts and art collections. Instrumental Neutron Activation Analysis (INAA), although very sensitive and accurate, became in the last years less and less used, due to the reducing number of nuclear reactors in use. Moreover, the sample to be analyzed has to be relatively small and certain radioactivity is remnant in the sample after the analysis..
The study of trace elements in archaeological metallic objects can provide important clues on the metal provenance and the involved manufacturing procedures, leading to important conclusions regarding the commercial, cultural and religious exchanges between the old populations. Furthermore, ancient metallic objects are inhomogeneous on a micrometric scale, containing remains of imperfect smelting and inclusions (small areas with composition different from the surroundings).
The present project will deal with studies on gold, silver and bronze artefacts from Romanian heritage, trying to characterize them from the archaeometallurgical point of view. Basing on elemental composition results, the origin of the ore will be established and different historical conclusions will be drawn. The project will make use of X-Ray Fluorescence (XRF) and its more advanced version Synchrotron Radiation X-Ray Fluorescence (SR-XRF) and Particle Induced X-ray Emission (PIXE) and its microbeam variant - micro-PIXE in order to characterize different metallic artefacts (gold, silver, copper alloys) with archaeological significance.
In XRF, the atoms of the sample are excited by means of electromagnetic radiation and emit their characteristic X-rays, which, in energy dispersion mode, are analyzed with regard to its energy. By determining the energies of the characteristic X-rays, the elements contained in the sample can be found. By means of mathematic modelling, the concentrations of the analyte can be determined from the measured intensities. This method is non-destructive and therefore extremely suitable for the study of archaeometrical samples. The excitation of the characteristic X-rays can be done in several ways: by using an X-ray tube, by using a radioactive source or by employing synchrotron radiation.
By far the most advantageous - but the most expensive option - is to use the synchrotron radiation provided by large accelerators (electron storage rings); the method is called in this case SR-XRF (Synchrotron Radiation X-ray Fluorescence). The tunability and the polarization of the synchrotron radiation leads to very low detection limits for the sought elements (some fg for elements from Na to U, varying depending on the matrix), while the high intensity of the exciting beam and the good focusing allows the acquisition of the signal with high spatial resolution (several micrometers spots). Taking into account the above-mentioned advantages, i.e. the low detection limits and the excellent spatial resolution, SR-XRF can be used to determine the trace elements distribution in archaeometrical samples.
It can be concluded that XRF spectroscopy is a non-destructive technique of analysis, which can successfully be used in archaeometry for the identification metallic alloys. Very often the artefacts to be analyzed are not transportable in scientific laboratories. The development of portable instruments, based on the XRF spectroscopy, was therefore widely justified for in-situ measurements (on the field). The classical high-resolution cryogenic detectors, like Si(Li) and HPGe detectors, usually employed in scientific laboratory, are not suitable for portable instrumentation in archaeometry. The main limitations arise from the need of the liquid nitrogen cooling (large-size of the cryostat, need of periodic liquid nitrogen refill, maintenance cost). Recently, non-cryogenic detectors, like Peltier cooled silicon PIN diodes, have been employed in portable systems for XRF analysis, with a big improvement in terms of size and weight of the instrumentation. In the frame of this project, we intend to acquire a portable X-ray fluorescence analyzer, to be used directly in the museums, collections and even for in-situ measurements in archaeological or architectural (e.g. churches) sites, avoiding the problem of museums objects transport to an analytical laboratory.
XRF will be applied to determine the composition of gold, silver and bronze objects. The study will focuse on obtaining quantitative results regarding the main alloying components, as well as the qualitative determination of the trace components. The trace elements will give information about the place of origin of the ore and the metal. As a result, it will be possible to identify the location of the mine and the mint.
PIXE is one of the most widely used techniques for multielemental quantitative analysis. The technique is based on the detection of characteristic X-rays emitted by a sample bombarded with accelerated charged particles (usually 3 MeV protons). This technique is very appropriate for archaeometrical studies due to its non-destructivity, the relatively short analysis time and the excellent sensitivity for detecting trace elements (minimum detectable amounts of the order of ppm). Protons produce low bremsstrahlung background and PIXE data can be improved also by utilizing selective X-ray filters and/or different proton energies in order to suppress the X-ray signals of the dominant element(s) in the artifact's matrix. Furthermore, the measurements can be carried out whilst the sample is at atmospheric pressure (external beam); this can extend the range of applications to virtually most of the archaeological and historical materials. By using microprobes (a precisely built set of diaphragms and quadrupole lenses) it is possible to reach µm sized beams at a reasonable beam intensity (? 0.1 nA). Scanning this beam over the sample one can map the lateral distribution of the elements with high spatial resolution.
The majority of gold objects from Romanian patrimony have not been yet analyzed. The chemical composition of these artefacts can provide useful information for historians concerning the origin of the objects and the used technology. The elemental analysis can also help for counterfeits detecting. XRF will be used to find out the composition (main elements - gold, silver, copper) of various ancient treasure objects (coins including) from the MNIR and IA-AR, with the purpose of connecting these results with provenance (gold mines, workshops and technologies) and commercial-military conclusions (gold objects circulation). The results will be compared to Transylvanian natural gold composition (nuggets from Muntii Apuseni) to clarify the problem of Transylvanian gold use before Roman conquest of Dacia. Several small fragments of ancient jewellery objects from Pietroasa "Closca cu Puii de Aur" ("The Golden Brood Hen with Its Chickens") hoard and some Neolithic gold objects are intended to be studied with the external microprobe of AGLAE accelerator from Louvre, Paris and Legnaro National Laboratory, Italy. The goal of this project is to clarify the metal provenance using trace elements information and Platinum Group Elements (PGE) - Ru, Rh, Pd, Os, Ir, Pt or any other high temperature melting point metals inclusions, such as Ta or Nb. A data base for Romanian museums gold objects will be elaborated. The results will be discussed and interpreted together with the archaeologists from MNIR and specialists from FI-UB and IA-AR. A comparison between the results obtained with micro-PIXE and some results based on micro-XRF induced by synchrotron radiation (SR-XRF) will be performed as well. Scientific papers will be published in foreign journals to disseminate the information obtained through elemental analysis.
An extensive study will be performed on the medieval silver coins named groschen that circulated during the late Middle Age on the Moldavian territory. Medieval (XIVth-XVIth Centuries) silver groschen will be studied in order to determine the evolution of the coinage - debasement, metal sources and minting technologies. Two analytical methods will be used: 241Am source based XRF and, only for some representative exemplars, 3 MeV protons PIXE. The fundamental historical problem that triggered this study is the fact that Moldavia is a region with no silver mines. One possible hypothesis is that the first monetary emissions of Moldavian Medieval princes were made using foreign coins, taken from commercial exchanges, as well as customs taxes, which were melted and reused. The physical non-destructive analytical methods, such XRF and PIXE are necessary, to confirm or to infirm this hypothesis. Many types of silver medieval coins will be analyzed: Moldavian, Bohemian, Hungarian, Tatar, Genovese and Polish, all coined between the XIVth and XVth century, the results of different coins groups being afterwards compared. In order to establish a connection between the coins and the silver ore sources, the following trace elements will be considered: Au, Bi, Pb, Zn and Sb. The Ag/Cu ratio will be used as an indicator of the debasement (inflation). Different faking procedures as amalgam silvering or plating will be also examined. Finally, a data base for the evolution of Moldavian and Wallachian coinage will be elaborated. The results will be discussed and interpreted together with the numismatists from the MNIR, IA-AR and FI-UB; subsequently, scientific papers, elaborated as a result of this collaboration, will be published in foreign journals. A similar study will be carried out on Dacian silver coins in relation to Barbarian imitations of original Greek, Macedonian and Roman coins - silver local or Balkan sources, eventually remelting of original coins, etc. The conclusions will be verified analyzing Dacian silver jewelry and a scientific paper will be published.
The definition of chronological and/or geographic differences in archaeological bronze artefacts requires, among other considerations, an accurate and precise determination of the elemental composition of the alloy. The availability near the area of production of a specific ore, either by mining or by trade (Sn ore, for instance), may affect the relative abundance of this element in the composition of the bronze. The technological skill in the smelting processes can also affect its composition. Besides, elements trace present in the alloy may provide some clues on the provenance of raw materials. An accurate determination of the elemental composition of the artefacts through the use of the appropriate analytical techniques is, therefore, of great interest for the determination of different metallurgical traditions that define a cultural group. We intend to determine the composition (Cu, Sn, Pb and minor elements as Sb, Bi, Ag, As, Zn etc) of ancient bronze objects (including coins) - before VIth Century AD - found on Romanian territory, from MNIR and IA-AR collections, to study provenance aspects (copper mines from Transylvania, Bulgaria, Serbia, Central Europe or Sn sources from Central Europe) and to clarify the conditions of such objects circulation. A data base on ancient bronze composition for Romanian museums objects will be elaborated. The results will be discussed and interpreted together with the archaeologists from the MNIR, FI-UB and IA-AR and, based on the obtained results, scientific papers will be written.
The compositional results obtained for gold, silver and bronze artefacts will not be only disseminated within conferences and workshops, but as well published in papers in specialized journals. Moreover, in the frame of this project an e-manual describing XRF, SR-XRF, PIXE and micro-PIXE techniques and their potential applications for archaeometallurgy will be realized. This manual will be created on electronic support (CD) and will be distributed to Romanian museum. Another objective of the present project is represented by the website dedicated to archaeometry, which will comprise the selected information from the e-manual. The e-manual will be very useful for museographs, historians and restaurateurs, being used as well for students' study in the field of physics, chemistry and archaeology, presenting the way in which the non-destructive analytical techniques based on the detection of characteristic X-rays (XRF, SR-XRF, PIXE and micro-PIXE) may be used in archaeometry in order to determine authentication, provenience, conservation, restoration problems, as well as to elaborate history and archaeology studies.
The proposed project has as main features the complexity and multidisciplinary character.
For all the above described research activities it is important to emphasize that the multidisciplinary community of action is essential. Establishing the achaeometry research network is very important in the current economic climate-at national, as well as European level, due to the fact that is extremely difficult for museums or other cultural institutions to own or to develop modern analyze instruments and techniques. It is thus obvious the necessity of collaboration between museographs, historians and conservatoires with specialists in physics and chemistry, this partnership offering the possibility to gain new scientific information regarding the patrimony objects, information very useful for the person who activate in the museum conservation-restoration groups. The involvement of Information and Communication Technologies (ICT) in the field of archaeometry consists in tools for technology enhanced learning (e.g. e-manuals) and digital cultural resources and assets (e.g. interdisciplinary specialized websites for professionals, students and museums visitors). The Romanian archaeometallurgy network established through this project will therefore contribute in this way to the education and formation of the EU citizen, building a shared understanding and respect for Europe's diversities in terms of culture, institutions, history, languages and values.
The fulfillment of this project depends only on the normal functioning of the experimental facilities, especially of the particle accelerator (8 MV HVEC Tandem of IFIN-HH). The international co-operation (COST G8, EU-ARTECH and TARI FP6) is already established for 2005-2006 and will be prolonged for 2007-2008 and will facilitate access to advanced research infrastructures, such as micro-PIXE and SR-XRF facilitiesAA
- Elaboration - using XRF and micro-PIXE techniques - of a database with the composition of museums ancient gold objects in relation with their provenance (gold sources, workshops and technologies) and circulation aspects (commercial and military problems) (1.09.2005 - 30.06.2006)
- Provenance considerations on Pietroasa hoard using the micro-PIXE method (1.09.2005 - 31.12.2005).
- IFIN-HH group will perform the micro-PIXE measurements at Louvre AGLAE accelerator (EU-ARTECH support) and AN2000 accelerator of INFN-LNL (FP6 - TARI support);
- MNIR will perform the archaeological interpretation of the compositional results;
- FI-UB will perform the archaeological interpretation of the compositional results;
- Study on Neolithic, La Tene and Dacian gold objects from the Romanian heritage using the XRF and micro-PIXE methods (1.01.2006-30.06.2006).
- IFIN-HH will perform XRF measurements in Bucharest and micro-PIXE measurements at AN2000 accelerator from INFN-LN Legnaro (FP6 - TARI support);
- MNIR will perform the archaeological interpretation of the compositional results;
- IA-AR will provide the gold objects which are to be analyzed and will perform the archaeological interpretation of the compositional results;
- FI-UB will perform the archaeological interpretation of the compositional results.
- Elaboration - using the XRF and PIXE techniques - of a database with the composition of medieval Moldavian silver coins from the national heritage in relation to technological (silver sources, silvering, fakes), historical and commercial aspects.(1.07.2006-30.09.2006).
- IFIN-HH will perform the XRF and PIXE measurements at Bucharest Tandem accelerator;
- MNIR will provide the coins and will perform the numismatic interpretation of the compositional results;
- IA-AR will perform the numismatic interpretation of the compositional results
- FI-UB will perform the archaeological interpretation of the compositional results.
- Elaboration - using the XRF and PIXE techniques - of a database with the composition of Dacian silver jewelry and coins from the national heritage in relation to technological (silver sources, silvering, fakes, barbarian imitations), historical and commercial aspects.(1.10.2006-31.12.2006)
- IFIN-HH will perform the XRF and PIXE measurements at Bucharest Tandem accelerator;
- MNIR will provide coins and will perform the archaeological interpretation of the compositional results;
- IA-AR will provide silver objects and coins and will perform the archaeological interpretation of the compositional results;
- FI-UB will perform the archaeological interpretation of the compositional result.
- To elaborate, using XRF technique, a database with the composition of museums ancient bronze objects from the national heritage in relation to their provenance (copper and tin sources, technologies, workshops) and circulation aspects (commercial and military problems) (1.01.2007-30.06.2007)
- IFIN-HH will perform XRF and PIXE measurements at Bucharest Tandem accelerator;
- MNIR will provide the archaeological samples and will perform the archaeological interpretation of the compositional results;
- IA-AR will provide bronze objects and coins and will perform the archaeological interpretation of the compositional results;
- FI-UB will perform the archaeological interpretation of the compositional results.
- Acquiring a portable XRF analysis system and elaboration of a procedure for in-situ compositional studies on museums objects (1.07.2007-31.12.2007)
- IFIN-HH will acquire the portable XRF spectrometer and will elaborate the technical procedure for in-situ (museum) XRF measurements;
- MNIR will provide the archaeological samples for testing and will contribute to the elaboration of the procedure;
- FI-UB and IA-AR will contribute to the elaboration of the procedure.
- Elaboration of an e-manual with educational purpose about the archaeometrical potential of the XRF, SR-XRF, PIXE and micro-PIXE techniques illustrated with the above mentioned data bases on CD support and as specialized interactive website (1.01.2008-31.08.2008).
- IFIN-HH will coordinate the elaboration of the e-manual technical part;
- MNIR will host the specialized interactive web site and will participate to the elaboration of the e-manual;
- FI-UB and IA-AR will coordinate the elaboration of the didactic and archaeological part of the e-manual
- Establishing a Romanian archaeometallurgy network (IFIN, HH, MNIR, FI-UB, IA-AR), with European co-operations partners (EU COST G8 action, EU-ARTECH, FP6 TARI);
- Elaborating - using the XRF, SR-XRF and micro-PIXE techniques - a database with the composition of museums ancient gold objects from the Romanian heritage, in relation to their provenance (gold sources, workshops and technologies) and circulation aspects (commercial and military problems).
- Elaborating - using the XRF and PIXE techniques - a database with the composition of medieval Moldavian silver coins in relation to technological (silver sources and fakes) and historical - commercial aspects (commercial and military).
- Elaborating - using the XRF and PIXE techniques - a database with the composition of Dacian silver jewelry and coins in relation to technological (silver sources, silvering fakes, barbaric imitations of Greek-Roman coins) and historical - commercial aspects.
- Elaborating - using the XRF and PIXE techniques - a database with the composition of museums ancient bronze objects in relation to their provenance (copper and tin sources, technologies, workshops) and circulation aspects (commercial, military problems).
- Acquisition of a portable XRF analysis system and based on it, elaboration of a procedure for in-situ compositional studies regarding the study of heritage metallic objects in museums and on archaeological sites; performing European scientific competitive researches and studies using this XRF facility.
- Elaborating an e-manual regarding the archaeometrical potential of the XRF, PIXE and micro-PIXE techniques, illustrated with experimental selections from the above-mentioned data bases on CD support.
- Four scientific publications in ISI journals.
- Presentations of the project's results at four international conferences and workshops.
- Realization of a web site dedicated to Romanian research in the field of archaeometry.
The realization of the present project will offer unique opportunities for history and archaeology researchers, availing the chance to perform compositional analysis on artifacts from Romanian cultural heritage patrimony which have never been investigated up to the present. It will also valorize the equipments and the experience in the field of archaeometry of the nuclear physics researchers. The project will create new opportunities for education and training - physics and archaeology students, conservators, and restorers, valorizing at a high level the cultural heritage resources of our country.
- The scientific management of the project will be implemented through:
- Periodic meetings (every three months) with all the collaborators, having as main goals the working procedures, providing the samples for analyze, discussion of the results and establishing the activities the for the next period;
- Semestral internal evaluation of the results of the project-in correlation with the implementation of the research reports;
- Permanent up-dating of the scientific knowledge related to archaeometallurgy using INTERNET facilities, specialized libraries of the partners and international scientific contacts of the participants;
- Prompt and permanent communication between the collaborators via e-mail;
- Bi-lateral meetings-every time is required- for archaeological samples exchange;
- Periodic reports presented within the National Archaeology Seminar of the Faculty of History, University of Bucharest;
- A national symposium on archaeometallurgy organized at the end of the project;
- The management co-ordination and communication methods for the project execution will be in accordance with the requirements of the project's execution plan.
The coordination and communication in order to achieve the goals of the project will be assured according to the implementation plan of the project. The project co-coordinator and the scientific responsible from each partner will assure the above-mentioned management and will monitor the fulfillment of the objectives, the implementation and presentation of the research reports, as well as the observance of the working plan and of the budget.
- 8 MV HVEC Tandem accelerator of IFIN-HH-existing;
- XRF spectrometer of IFIN-HH - existing;
- Portable XRF - to be acquired by IFIN-HH using the funding obtained through the present project;
- The computing infrastructure of the participating institutions (PC-s and existing informatics networks, PC-s and other items to be bought)-for further details, see the list with the equipments provided by each partner;
- Certified reference materials/ standards (pure metallic and alloys) - to be bought by IFIN-HH using the funding obtained through the present project;
- GUPIX and other software - to be bought by the partners using the funding obtained through the present project;
- The library of the Faculty of History, University of Bucharest;
- The scientific archaeological archive of IA-AR;
- The teams of scientific researchers according to A2.1 staff lists;
- 15.000.000.000 ROL for the 36 months of the project distributed between partners and dedicated for manpower costs (250 month × man), equipment acquisition, final symposium organization, the implementation of the website, international mobility (see the implementation project plan, with the detailed presentation of the capital for each phase and partner);
- EU-ARTECH co-operation with AGLAE Louvre, Paris facility (see the materials attached to B form);
- Access to LNL, Italy accelerator through EU TARI FP6 program (see the materials attached to B form).