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Mineral Pigments in Archaeology: Their Analysis and the Range of Available Materials

Vice-Provost Education & Student Affairs, University College London, Gower Street, London WC1E 6BT, UK
Minerals 2018, 8(5), 201;
Received: 13 April 2018 / Revised: 2 May 2018 / Accepted: 3 May 2018 / Published: 8 May 2018
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Mineralogical Applications for Cultural Heritage)
PDF [1638 KB, uploaded 8 May 2018]


Naturally occurring minerals or their synthetic analogues have been important as pigments used in artistic and cosmetic contexts in global antiquity. The analysis and identification of mineral pigments, though routine to the petrologist or mineralogist, also requires specialist knowledge of the archaeological contexts and available technologies and trade. This paper attempts to present an analytical approach to the study of mineral pigments in archaeology and also introduces the range of mineral pigments encountered in works of art and painted objects on archaeological sites and in museums. It attempts to cover the range of mineral and synthetic inorganic pigments used in global cultures from to the early Medieval period. View Full-Text
Keywords: pigments; artists’ pigments; materiality; minerals; archaeology; paint pigments; artists’ pigments; materiality; minerals; archaeology; paint

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This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited (CC BY 4.0).

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Siddall, R. Mineral Pigments in Archaeology: Their Analysis and the Range of Available Materials. Minerals 2018, 8, 201.

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