Scientists working at Diamond Light Source have revealed new information about 10,000 years old pigments used in Neolithic wall paintings and designs from two sites. The work, which took place on the Multimode InfraRed Imaging And Microspectroscopy (MIRIAM) beamline B22, helped to identify an unexpected component thought to have been included to improve the visual aesthetic of the displays. The research also showed that a naturally occurring pigment was used, providing researchers with insights into the original soil profile of the region prior to massive flooding.
Red pigment typically is obtained from naturally occurring minerals, red ochre (dehydrated iron oxide or Fe2O3) and cinnabar (mercury(II) sulphide or HgS). For the researchers, understanding the composition of red pigments used allows them to determine the source of these pigments, how the components were mixed, and how far away from the artefact sites these components are found.
To find out more about using the B22 beamline, or to discuss potential applications, please contact Dr Gianfelice Cinque: firstname.lastname@example.org
Emma Anderson, Matthew J. Almond, Wendy Matthews, Gianfelice Cinque, Mark D. Frogley. Analysis of Red Pigments from the Neolithic sites of Çatalhöyük in Turkey and Sheikh-e Abad in Iran. Spectrochimica Acta Part A: Molecular and Biomolecular Spectroscopy. Volume 131, 15 October 2014, Pages 373–383.
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