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A multi-analytical approach to amber characterisation

Georgiana Ileana Truică, Nicoletta Ditaranto, Maria Cristina Caggiani, Annarosa Mangone, Simona Carmen Liţescu, Eugenia Dumitra Teodor, Luigia Sabbatini, and Gabriel Lucian Radu

Faculty of Applied Chemistry and Material Science, “Politehnica” University of Bucharest, 1-7 Polizu, 011061, Bucharest, Romania

 

E-mail: gl_radu@chim.upb.ro

Abstract: Increased need for non-destructive investigation methods in archaeology has become a major issue since sampling is in most cases restricted in view of the importance or uniqueness of the objects. For this reason, preliminary investigation using non-destructive techniques was performed on five samples of amber beads obtained from different excavation and archaeological sites. The use of FTIR and micro-Raman analysis revealed the presence of carboxyl, peroxide, hydroxyl, and complex ester functional groups as well as single and double bonds in the structure of the studied resin varieties. Further analysis of the amber samples from both archaeological and geological types by XPS, XRF, and SEM showed the presence of sulfur and a wide range of trace elements on the surface of the analysed samples. Our results proved that the combination of structural-molecular and surface elemental techniques for amber characterisation provides a very useful and simple methodology for the description of geological and archaeological amber samples from different regions of Europe.

Keywords: amber – infrared spectroscopy – scanning electron spectroscopy – X-ray photoelectron spectroscopy

Full paper is available at www.springerlink.com.

DOI: 10.2478/s11696-013-0415-8

 

Chemical Papers 68 (1) 15–21 (2014)

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