Research Topics

Ancient materials and Cultural Heritage

The group works on the analysis of ancient materials.

Subject of study:

The subject of our studies is to analyze the composition and microstructure of those materials, to obtain information about their composition, geographic origin and the technology of their production. The obtained data is analyzed not only from the archaeological and historical point of view but also to get information about the state of conservation and stability of the artworks.

The reproduction of ancient materials is another key subject of our work. The subject is not only to reveal the technology of production of materials but also to produce reference materials. Finally, the reproduction of ageing, reaction and alteration processes in ancient materials is also a subject of our interest.

Materials under study:

a) metastable and microstructural materials: glasses, ceramics, glazes and, in particular, lusters. Dr. Trinitat Pradell
b) paintings, binders, pigments, reaction and degradation compounds in paintings. Dr. Nati Salvadó
c) organic residues and sediments from archaeological sites: food residues and residues of human activities. Dr. Salvadó Butí

Techniques :

Sample preparation: development of specific techniques for preparation of samples of special complexity.

Microscopic and spectroscopic techniques: structure and composition determination and, in particular, the material's microstructure. Experience with OM, SEM, TEM and Microprobe, XRF, XANES, EXAFS, Transmission Mössbauer Spectroscopy, XPS, XRD and FTIR.

Separation techniques: Capillary Electrophoresis, Liquid Chromatography.

When necessary, as a consequence of the sample characteristics and complexity, Sinchrotron radiation is used as a source for FTIR and XRD. This is made through research projects at Diamond and ALBA. The use of Sinchrotron radiation gives high quality results that result in more and better information.

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