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Open AccessArticle

Egyptian Blue Pellets from the First Century BCE Workshop of Kos (Greece): Microanalytical Investigation by Optical Microscopy, Scanning Electron Microscopy-X-ray Energy Dispersive Spectroscopy and Micro-Raman Spectroscopy

1
Department of Archaeology, Conservation and History, University of Oslo, Blindernveien 11, 0371 Oslo, Norway
2
SciCult Laboratory, Department of Collection Management, Museum of Cultural History, University of Oslo, St. Olavs Plass, 0130 Oslo, Norway
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Minerals 2020, 10(12), 1063; https://doi.org/10.3390/min10121063
Received: 28 October 2020 / Revised: 23 November 2020 / Accepted: 23 November 2020 / Published: 27 November 2020
This paper aims to expand our understanding of the processes involved in the production of the artificial pigment Egyptian blue through the scientific examination of pigments found in the first century BCE workshop of the Greek island of Kos. There, 136 Egyptian blue pellets were brought to light, including successfully produced pellets, as well as partially successful and unsuccessful products. This study is based on the examination of eighteen samples obtained from pellets of various textures and tones of blue, including light and dark blue pigments, coarse and fine-grained materials, and one unsuccessful pellet of dark green/grey colour. The samples were examined by optical microscopy, scanning electron microscopy coupled with energy-dispersive X-ray spectroscopy (SEM-EDS), and micro-Raman spectroscopy. These complementary microanalytical techniques provide localised information about the chemical and mineralogical composition of this multicomponent material, at a single-grain level. The results shed light on the firing procedure and indicate possible sources for raw materials (beach sand, copper alloys), as well as demonstrating the use of a low-alkali starting mixture. Moreover, two different process for the production of light blue pigments were identified: (a) decreased firing time and (b) grinding of the initially produced pellet and mixing with cobalt-containing material. View Full-Text
Keywords: Egyptian blue; ancient production technology; pigments; Kos; Graeco-Roman art; micro-Raman; SEM-EDS Egyptian blue; ancient production technology; pigments; Kos; Graeco-Roman art; micro-Raman; SEM-EDS
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MDPI and ACS Style

Kostomitsopoulou Marketou, A.; Andriulo, F.; Steindal, C.; Handberg, S. Egyptian Blue Pellets from the First Century BCE Workshop of Kos (Greece): Microanalytical Investigation by Optical Microscopy, Scanning Electron Microscopy-X-ray Energy Dispersive Spectroscopy and Micro-Raman Spectroscopy. Minerals 2020, 10, 1063. https://doi.org/10.3390/min10121063

AMA Style

Kostomitsopoulou Marketou A, Andriulo F, Steindal C, Handberg S. Egyptian Blue Pellets from the First Century BCE Workshop of Kos (Greece): Microanalytical Investigation by Optical Microscopy, Scanning Electron Microscopy-X-ray Energy Dispersive Spectroscopy and Micro-Raman Spectroscopy. Minerals. 2020; 10(12):1063. https://doi.org/10.3390/min10121063

Chicago/Turabian Style

Kostomitsopoulou Marketou, Ariadne; Andriulo, Fabrizio; Steindal, Calin; Handberg, Søren. 2020. "Egyptian Blue Pellets from the First Century BCE Workshop of Kos (Greece): Microanalytical Investigation by Optical Microscopy, Scanning Electron Microscopy-X-ray Energy Dispersive Spectroscopy and Micro-Raman Spectroscopy" Minerals 10, no. 12: 1063. https://doi.org/10.3390/min10121063

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