Micro-Attenuated Total Reflection Spectral Imaging in Archaeology: Application to Maya Paint and Plaster Wall Decorations

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Abstract:

Fourier transform infrared (FT-IR) attenuated total reflection (ATR) imaging has been successfully used to identify individual mineral components of ancient Maya paint. The high spatial resolution of a micro FT-IR-ATR system in combination with a focal plane array detector has allowed individual particles in the paint to be resolved and identified from their spectra. This system has been used in combination with micro-Raman spectroscopy to characterize the paint, which was found to be a mixture of hematite and silicate particles with minor amounts of calcite, carbon, and magnetite particles in a sub-micrometer hematite and calcite matrix. The underlying stucco was also investigated and found to be a combination of calcite with fine carbon particles, making a dark sub-ground for the paint.

Keywords: ATR; ATTENUATED TOTAL REFLECTION; COPAN; FOURIER TRANSFORM INFRARED SPECTROSCOPY; FT-IR-ATR IMAGING; MAYA; PAINT; PIGMENTS; RAMAN MICROSCOPY; STUCCO

Document Type: Research Article

DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1366/000370208783412627

Affiliations: 1: School of Physical and Chemical Sciences, Queensland University of Technology, GPO Box 2434, Brisbane, Qld 4001, Australia 2: School of Social Sciences, University of Queensland, 4067, Brisbane, Australia 3: University of Pennsylvania Museum, Philadelphia, PA, 19104-6324, USA

Publication date: January 1, 2008

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