UCL Discovery
UCL home » Library Services » Electronic resources » UCL Discovery

Surface chromium on Terracotta Army bronze weapons is neither an ancient anti-rust treatment nor the reason for their good preservation

Martinon-Torres, M; Li, X; Xia, Y; Benzonelli, A; Bevan, A; Ma, S; Huang, J; ... Rehren, T; + view all (2019) Surface chromium on Terracotta Army bronze weapons is neither an ancient anti-rust treatment nor the reason for their good preservation. Scientific Reports , 9 , Article 5289. 10.1038/s41598-019-40613-7. Green open access

[thumbnail of s41598-019-40613-7.pdf]
Preview
Text
s41598-019-40613-7.pdf - Published Version

Download (3MB) | Preview

Abstract

For forty years, there has been a widely held belief that over 2,000 years ago the Chinese Qin developed an advanced chromate conversion coating technology (CCC) to prevent metal corrosion. This belief was based on the detection of chromium traces on the surface of bronze weapons buried with the Chinese Terracotta Army, and the same weapons’ very good preservation. We analysed weapons, lacquer and soils from the site, and conducted experimental replications of CCC and accelerated ageing. Our results show that surface chromium presence is correlated with artefact typology and uncorrelated with bronze preservation. Furthermore we show that the lacquer used to cover warriors and certain parts of weapons is rich in chromium, and we demonstrate that chromium on the metals is contamination from nearby lacquer after burial. The chromium anti-rust treatment theory should therefore be abandoned. The good metal preservation probably results from the moderately alkaline pH and very small particle size of the burial soil, in addition to bronze composition.

Type: Article
Title: Surface chromium on Terracotta Army bronze weapons is neither an ancient anti-rust treatment nor the reason for their good preservation
Open access status: An open access version is available from UCL Discovery
DOI: 10.1038/s41598-019-40613-7
Publisher version: https://doi.org/10.1038/s41598-019-40613-7
Language: English
Additional information: This article is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License, which permits use, sharing, adaptation, distribution and reproduction in any medium or format, as long as you give appropriate credit to the original author(s) and the source, provide a link to the Creative Commons license, and indicate if changes were made. The images or other third party material in this article are included in the article’s Creative Commons license, unless indicated otherwise in a credit line to the material. If material is not included in the article’s Creative Commons license and your intended use is not permitted by statutory regulation or exceeds the permitted use, you will need to obtain permission directly from the copyright holder. To view a copy of this license, visit http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/
Keywords: Science & Technology, Multidisciplinary Sciences, Science & Technology - Other Topics, SOIL ORGANIC-CARBON, ORGANIZATION, CORROSION, COPPER
UCL classification: UCL
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > UCL SLASH
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > UCL SLASH > Faculty of S&HS
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > UCL SLASH > Faculty of S&HS > Institute of Archaeology
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > UCL SLASH > Faculty of S&HS > Institute of Archaeology > Institute of Archaeology Gordon Square
URI: https://discovery.ucl.ac.uk/id/eprint/10073051
Downloads since deposit
79Downloads
Download activity - last month
Download activity - last 12 months
Downloads by country - last 12 months

Archive Staff Only

View Item View Item