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Comparative pigment analysis of six modern Egyptian papyri and an authentic one of the 13th century BC by Raman microscopy and other techniques

Burgio, L; Clark, RJH; (2000) Comparative pigment analysis of six modern Egyptian papyri and an authentic one of the 13th century BC by Raman microscopy and other techniques. Journal of Raman Spectroscopy , 31 (5) 395 - 401.

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Abstract

Six Egyptian papyri, supposedly dating to different periods from the 13th to the 1st centuries BC and brought to London for auction, have been analysed by Raman microscopy in order to try to authenticate them. Complementary studies by scanning electron microscopy (SEM), energy dispersive x-ray analysis (EDX), and polarized light microscopy (PLM) have also been tarried out in some cases. The following pigments were detected: phthalocyanine blue, phthalocyanine green, chalk, anatase (white), Prussian blue, a Hansa yellow, ultramarine blue, iron(III) oxide and two beta-naphthol reds. Most of the pigments on the papyri were thus recognized to be modern, their syntheses or refinement processes not being known to the ancient Egyptians. The above results have been compared with those obtained from the analysis of an authentic Egyptian papyrus belonging to the Petrie Museum and dating from the 13th century BC. This papyrus had recently been conserved by the British Museum and placed under glass. The Raman study, which was performed without removal of the glass, revealed the presence of pararealgar (yellow), which is a photodegradation product of realgar (red). Carbon and orpiment were also present on this papyrus, and possibly iron(III) oxide, malachite or Egyptian green, and Egyptian blue, but no modern pigments. These results are consistent with the authenticity of this papyrus, and highlight a convenient and effective method by which ancient and modern papyri may be distinguished. Copyright (C) 2000 John Whey & Sons, Ltd

Type:Article
Title:Comparative pigment analysis of six modern Egyptian papyri and an authentic one of the 13th century BC by Raman microscopy and other techniques
Additional information:Journal Article MAY 327DM Clark RJH Univ London Univ Coll, Christopher Ingold Labs, 20 Gordon St, London WC1H 0AJ, England J RAMAN SPECTROSC
Keywords:analysis, BC, British, CARBON, Electron, electron microscopy, energy, Glasses, IDENTIFICATION, LIGHT, MANUSCRIPTS, May, Microscopy, Other, OXIDE, PARAREALGAR, pigments, process, processes, product, Raman microscopy, Removal, technique, X-ray
UCL classification:UCL > School of BEAMS > Faculty of Maths and Physical Sciences > Chemistry

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