NMR Spectroscopy in Archaeology and Cultural Heritage Materials Analysis Colloquium

Thursday, November 8, 2018

Dr. Apostolos Spyros and Dr. Dimitris Aglos gave a talk about NMR Spectroscopy in Archaeology and Cultural Heritage Materials Analysis. NMR spectroscopy is a powerful analytical methodology for the characterization and analysis of complex organic mixtures. Organic materials are abundant in cultural heritage science, serving a multiplicity of roles. They can be part of works of art when used as construction materials, for example binders in paintings, polymers in modern art installations, or play the role of protecting agents for art objects, for example waxes and vegetable resins in varnishes. Organic residues are also frequently encountered in an archaeological context during excavation work.

The identification of chemical compounds in such organic residues can provide information about the materials used by ancient people in everyday life, for tools and artefact construction, food preparation, diet, etc., and thus can be of great importance for archaeological sciences.

This presentation discussed recent applications of liquid state, high resolution multinuclear 1D and 2D NMR spectroscopy in the fields of cultural heritage materials and archaeological organic residue analysis, as applied for the characterization and chemical composition analysis of organic materials that are constituents of diverse cultural heritage specimens of interest. Examples presented included the study of museum objects and artworks, paintings, contemporary works of art constructed from modern polymeric materials, paint binders, waxes and organic residues from archaeological pottery.