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NDT Methodology for Copper-Based Artifacts
The great archaeological and artistic value of historic copper-based artifacts from various archaeological sites of Greece results in the restriction or even the prohibition of sampling, settling the need for the employment of non-destructive testing (NDT) techniques. X-ray fluorescence (XRF), fiber optics diffuse reflectance spectroscopy (FORS) and scanning electron microscopy coupled with an energy dispersive X-ray detector (ESEM-EDX).
A multi-analytical non-destructive testing (NDT) methodology was applied to copper-based artifacts originated from various archaeological sites of Greece. X-ray fluorescence (XRF), fiber optics diffuse reflectance spectroscopy (FORS) and scanning electron microscopy coupled with an energy dispersive X-ray detector (ESEM-EDX) were used for the characterization of the alloys and the corrosion products. The key elements of the artifacts belonging to the Early Bronze Age (2700–2300 BC) were copper and arsenic, while tin bronze was used for the fabrication of the Late Bronze Age (1600–1100 BC) artifacts. The effectiveness of XRF for the determination of the bulk composition was confirmed by comparative study with the previously applied atomic absorption spectroscopy (AAS) and inductively coupled plasma–atomic emission spectrometry (ICP-AES) destructive techniques. Significant differences between the artifacts were revealed through the spectral measurement of their surface corrosion products color by FORS. ESEM-EDX provided information on the microstructure, the elemental composition of the corrosion layers and bulk, as well as the distribution of the corrosion products on the surface. Conclusively, the combined NDT methodology could be regarded as a valuable and appropriate tool for the elemental composition of the bulk alloy, thus leading to the classification of their historical period and the corrosion products, contributing significantly to their conservation–restoration.
2. NDT Methodology
Figure 1. 19 Chisels originated from Macedonia, Chalkidiki, Petralona, and dated at the Early Bronze Age (2700–2300 BC) —Nos. 17794–17812.
Figure 2. Nine copper-based objects (a saw, a double axe, daggers, swords, a razor, a spearhead and a bowl in fragments) originated from Euboea—the “Andronianoi hoard”—Nos. 10797, 10798, 10810–10816, dated back at the LBA (15th–12th century BC).
Figure 3. Copper-based Naue II swords of unknown provenance (Nos. 9885 and 13905), a bowl (No. 11934) and a large basin (No. 11949) from Peloponnese, Argolid, dated back at the LBA (14th–12th century BC).
The entry is from 10.3390/cmd2020017
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