The use of Laser ablation-inductively coupled plasma-mass spectrometry (LA-ICPMS) in the study of Cultural Heritage


Several analytical techniques are actually employed for the study of Cultural Heritage and permit to identify production methodologies, constituent materials, degradation products, dating and provenance of the objects examined; elemental analyses provide precious information to archaeologists, art historians, restorers and analysts, opening a door into the past. Those techniques capable of ensuring versatility of application, sensitivity and non-destructive or micro-invasive analysis are generally requested. Laser ablation–inductively coupled plasma–mass spectrometry (LA-ICPMS), by virtue of its effective lateral resolution, sensitivity to most elements and capacity of outdoing limitations due to the low quantity of accessible samples, fulfils these requirements. Multivariate statistical techniques applied to the elemental data permit classification and provenance of artistic objects and allow to confute or confirm historical hypotheses. In the present work several case studies, addressed recently by the authors concerning objects of artistic and historical value, are outlined: pottery and glazes of Vesuvian area (Campania, Italy), fibulae of Egnatia (Puglia, Italy), inks of painting of Sant’Irene by Giuseppe Verrio and lime mortars from Siponto (Puglia, Italy). For each of the presented activity, results, advantages and drawbacks of the LA-ICPMS were discussed.

DOI Code: 10.1285/i9788883051081p17

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