Special Issue "Mineralogical Applications for Cultural Heritage"

A special issue of Minerals (ISSN 2075-163X).

Deadline for manuscript submissions: closed (31 March 2018).

Special Issue Editor

Prof. Dr. Marco Benvenuti
E-Mail Website
Guest Editor
Department of Earth Sciences, University of Florence, 50121 Firenze, Italy
Interests: slags; (ancient) metal artifacts; (ancient) coins; phase equilibria; geosites; ore geology; heavy metal pollution

Special Issue Information

“Our entire society rests upon and is dependent upon our water, our land, our forests, and our MINERALS” (John F. Kennedy, Special Message to the Congress on Natural Resources, 23 February, 1961).

Dear Colleagues,

Minerals, rocks, and products derived from them (glass, metals, pottery, mortar, etc.) form the foundation of tangible Cultural Heritage, from paintings to sculptures, from monuments to archaeological sites. The effects of interactions between geological and physico-chemical processes on the one hand, and geomaterials and the man-made artifacts on the other, are well known by mineralogists. Thus, they are able to provide relevant clues towards the characterization of geomaterials employed for cultural heritage, reconstruction of ancient technologies of production, tracing of the material sources, and definition of conservation strategies.

In this Special Issue, we seek to assemble a balanced combination of field and laboratory studies concerning recent advances in the applications of mineral sciences for different fields of cultural heritage. Papers providing data on novel experimental and analytical techniques, as well as studies concerning mineral sciences’ applications to metals, ceramics, glasses, mortar/plaster, pigments, gems, are welcome.

Prof. Dr. Marco Benvenuti
Guest Editor

Manuscript Submission Information

Manuscripts should be submitted online at www.mdpi.com by registering and logging in to this website. Once you are registered, click here to go to the submission form. Manuscripts can be submitted until the deadline. All papers will be peer-reviewed. Accepted papers will be published continuously in the journal (as soon as accepted) and will be listed together on the special issue website. Research articles, review articles as well as short communications are invited. For planned papers, a title and short abstract (about 100 words) can be sent to the Editorial Office for announcement on this website.

Submitted manuscripts should not have been published previously, nor be under consideration for publication elsewhere (except conference proceedings papers). All manuscripts are thoroughly refereed through a single-blind peer-review process. A guide for authors and other relevant information for submission of manuscripts is available on the Instructions for Authors page. Minerals is an international peer-reviewed open access monthly journal published by MDPI.

Please visit the Instructions for Authors page before submitting a manuscript. The Article Processing Charge (APC) for publication in this open access journal is 1400 CHF (Swiss Francs). Submitted papers should be well formatted and use good English. Authors may use MDPI's English editing service prior to publication or during author revisions.

Keywords

  • mineral sciences
  • cultural heritage
  • geomaterials
  • archaeometry
  • technology of production
  • material source(s)
  • state of conservation

Published Papers (10 papers)

Order results
Result details
Select all
Export citation of selected articles as:

Research

Jump to: Review, Other

Open AccessArticle
A Mosaic of Colors: Investigating Production Technologies of Roman Glass Tesserae from Northeastern Italy
Minerals 2018, 8(6), 255; https://doi.org/10.3390/min8060255 - 16 Jun 2018
Cited by 3
Abstract
In the current study, a set of 60 glass tesserae from two disrupted Roman mosaics located in Pordenone and Trento (northeastern Italy) are analyzed, with the aim of investigating the coloring and opacification techniques, with a focus on the causes of specific textural [...] Read more.
In the current study, a set of 60 glass tesserae from two disrupted Roman mosaics located in Pordenone and Trento (northeastern Italy) are analyzed, with the aim of investigating the coloring and opacification techniques, with a focus on the causes of specific textural features. All the available colors and textures were selected for archaeometric analyses, in order to guarantee the full characterization of both assemblages and comparisons between the two sites. The applied analytical protocol comprises micro-textural and preliminary chemical characterizations of the tesserae by means of OM and SEM-EDS, mineralogical analysis of the opacifiers by XRD and chemical analysis of the glassy matrices by EPMA; in addition, on specific tesserae, micro-Raman spectroscopy, FORS, and EPR were also performed to clarify the type of opacifer, coloring ion and oxidation state, respectively. Results show that both the base-glass and the coloring/opacification techniques identified are consistent with the presumed Roman dating of the mosaics. All the tesserae are natron-based and chemically comparable with major Roman compositional groups, except for red samples. Antimony-based opacifiers are identified in most of the blue, turquoise, white, yellow and green tesserae, and copper-based opacifiers in the red ones; cobalt and copper are the most frequent ionic colorants used to obtain various shades of blue, turquoise and green colors. Despite the general comparability of both assemblages with the published data on glass tesserae coeval in age, the present study shows differences in the technological solutions used for obtaining the same color, and less common coloring and opacification techniques in three samples from Pordenone. The banded textures of some tesserae were also carefully investigated, and multiple factors influencing the changes in color (different distribution or relative abundance of opacifiers, crystal size, micro-texture, chemical composition of glassy matrix) are identified. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Mineralogical Applications for Cultural Heritage)
Show Figures

Figure 1

Open AccessArticle
Geoheritage Values and Environmental Issues of Derelict Mines: Examples from the Sulfide Mines of Gromolo and Petronio Valleys (Eastern Liguria, Italy)
Minerals 2018, 8(6), 229; https://doi.org/10.3390/min8060229 - 28 May 2018
Cited by 2
Abstract
Derelict mining districts represent anthropogenically influenced landscapes that are often characterized by important geological, ecological, environmental, industrial, cultural, and archeological values. Nevertheless, after mining activities cease, several environmental problems are left behind, associated with soil and water pollution, hydrogeological instability, subsidence, ecosystem damages, [...] Read more.
Derelict mining districts represent anthropogenically influenced landscapes that are often characterized by important geological, ecological, environmental, industrial, cultural, and archeological values. Nevertheless, after mining activities cease, several environmental problems are left behind, associated with soil and water pollution, hydrogeological instability, subsidence, ecosystem damages, and landscape degradation or devastation. In this article we present a case study focused on a sulfide mining district (Petronio and Gromolo valleys, Genova) located on the ophiolitic sequences of the Northern Apennines (Eastern Liguria, Italy), with the aim of applying a GIS (Geographic Information System)-based model for the complete census of derelict mines and for the assessment of their geoheritage and geotourist values, potential risks, and environmental impact. All information has been integrated to produce a multicriteria approach for the evaluation of hazards and/or critical issues and geoheritage values. Based on the results obtained in this pilot area, an integrated cultural and touristic route has been proposed, which combines several points of interest (POIs) chosen within an area of about 8 km2. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Mineralogical Applications for Cultural Heritage)
Show Figures

Graphical abstract

Open AccessArticle
Changes in the Signature of Cobalt Colorants in Late Antique and Early Islamic Glass Production
Minerals 2018, 8(6), 225; https://doi.org/10.3390/min8060225 - 25 May 2018
Cited by 4
Abstract
Prior to the eighteenth century, cobalt was exclusively employed as a colouring agent for vitreous materials, and its use appears to be concurrent with the earliest large-scale production of glass during the Late Bronze Age (LBA). LBA cobalt deposits with a distinctive elemental [...] Read more.
Prior to the eighteenth century, cobalt was exclusively employed as a colouring agent for vitreous materials, and its use appears to be concurrent with the earliest large-scale production of glass during the Late Bronze Age (LBA). LBA cobalt deposits with a distinctive elemental signature have been identified in the oases of the western Egyptian desert, while cobalt mines in Kashan (Iran) and in the Erzgebirge (Germany) are known to have been exploited during the later Middle Ages. For most of the first millennium BCE and CE, however, the identity of cobalt sources and their supply patterns remain elusive. The aim of this study is to characterise the chemical composition of cobalt colorants used during the first millennium CE. Compositional variations indicate the use of different raw materials and/or production processes, which in turn has implications for the underlying exchange networks. Using mainly correlations between cobalt, nickel and zinc as discriminants, our results show that the compositional signature of cobalt underwent two major changes. An increase in the CoO/NiO ratios occurs between the late fourth and the beginning of the sixth century, while a new zinc-rich source of cobalt begins to be exploited during the second half of the eighth century in the Islamic world. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Mineralogical Applications for Cultural Heritage)
Show Figures

Figure 1

Open AccessArticle
Looking Like Gold: Chlorite and Talc Transformation in the Golden Slip Ware Production (Swat Valley, North-Western Pakistan)
Minerals 2018, 8(5), 200; https://doi.org/10.3390/min8050200 - 08 May 2018
Cited by 4
Abstract
The archaeometric study of the “golden slip” ware (second century BCE—fourth century CE) at the site of Barikot (Swat, north-western Pakistan) aimed to define its manufacturing technology and provenance of the raw materials used. For this reason, a multianalytical approach consisting of the [...] Read more.
The archaeometric study of the “golden slip” ware (second century BCE—fourth century CE) at the site of Barikot (Swat, north-western Pakistan) aimed to define its manufacturing technology and provenance of the raw materials used. For this reason, a multianalytical approach consisting of the microscopic, microstructural and mineralogical analysis of both the golden slip and the ceramic paste was adopted. The slip was found to be composed by platy minerals, microchemically identified as talc and chlorite; their intimate association indicated clearly that they derived from a chlorite-talc schist. This rock is geologically available near the site in the “green stones” lenses within the Mingora ophiolites outcropping in the Swat valley. Due to the use of this stone also for the production of stone tools, it cannot be excluded that the chlorite-talc schist used for the golden slip can be derived from manufacturing residues of the Gandharan sculptures. In order to constrain the firing production technology, laboratory replicas were produced using a locally collected clay and coating them with ground chlorite-talc schist. On the basis of the mineralogical association observed in both the slip and the ceramic paste and the thermodynamic stability of the pristine mineral phases, the golden slip pottery underwent firing under oxidising conditions in the temperature interval between 800 °C and 850 °C. The golden and shining looks of the slip were here interpreted as the result of the combined light reflectance of the platy structure of the talc-based coating and the uniform, bright red colour of the oxidized ceramic background. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Mineralogical Applications for Cultural Heritage)
Show Figures

Figure 1

Open AccessArticle
Catalan Imitations of the Ligurian Taches Noires Ware in Barcelona (18th–19th Century): An Example of Technical Knowledge Transfer
Minerals 2018, 8(5), 183; https://doi.org/10.3390/min8050183 - 27 Apr 2018
Cited by 3
Abstract
The ware called Taches Noires was developed in Albisola (Liguria, NW Italy) during the 18th century. In just a few years, it spread all over the Mediterranean (Italy, France, Spain, Tunisia, and Greece) and also in the New World (Canada, the Caribbean Islands, [...] Read more.
The ware called Taches Noires was developed in Albisola (Liguria, NW Italy) during the 18th century. In just a few years, it spread all over the Mediterranean (Italy, France, Spain, Tunisia, and Greece) and also in the New World (Canada, the Caribbean Islands, and Mexico). The success of the Taches Noires ware was so massive that it was soon copied by Spanish and French workshops. A collection of Catalan imitations and Ligurian imports found in Barcelona were analysed and compared to previously existing data from Barcelona productions, as well as reference samples from Albisola. The study proved the presence of both local imitations and original Albisola imports. The analysis showed a homogeneous product of high technical quality for the Albisola pottery. On the contrary, the local imitations presented a greater diversification in the choice and manipulation of the raw materials, probably related to the existence of different workshops engaged in the manufacturing of these products. Nevertheless, for one of the local groups, ceramists adopted a glaze recipe similar to the one used in Albisola, clearly indicating a direct transfer of knowledge, and possibly of potters, from Albisola to Barcelona. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Mineralogical Applications for Cultural Heritage)
Show Figures

Figure 1

Open AccessArticle
Non-Destructive Multi-Analytical Approach to Study the Pigments of Wall Painting Fragments Reused in Mortars from the Archaeological Site of Pompeii (Italy)
Minerals 2018, 8(4), 134; https://doi.org/10.3390/min8040134 - 27 Mar 2018
Cited by 12
Abstract
During the excavations carried out in Via di Mercurio (Regio VI, 9, 3) in Pompeii, in 2015, some red, green, black, and brown wall painting fragments were found in the preparatory layer of an ancient pavement which was probably built after the 62 [...] Read more.
During the excavations carried out in Via di Mercurio (Regio VI, 9, 3) in Pompeii, in 2015, some red, green, black, and brown wall painting fragments were found in the preparatory layer of an ancient pavement which was probably built after the 62 AD earthquake. These fragments, derived from the rubble, were used as coarse aggregate to prepare the mortar for building the pavement. The wall painting fragments are exceptionally well preserved, which is an uncommon occurrence in the city of Pompeii. However, as they were enclosed in the mortar, the wall painting fragments were protected from the high temperatures (probably ranging between 180 °C and 380 °C) produced by the eruption in 79 AD. The pigmented outer surface of each sample was analyzed using a non-destructive multi-analytical approach, by combining spectrophotometric colorimetry and portable X-ray fluorescence with micro-Raman spectroscopy. The compositional characterization of the samples revealed the presence of cuprorivaite, goethite, and celadonite in the green pigments; hematite in the red pigments; goethite in the brown pigment; and charcoal in the black pigment. These data probably provide us with the most “faithful picture” of the various red, green, black, and brown pigments used in Pompeii prior to the 79 AD eruption. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Mineralogical Applications for Cultural Heritage)
Show Figures

Figure 1

Review

Jump to: Research, Other

Open AccessReview
Archaeometric Analyses of European 18th–20th Century White Earthenware—A Review
Minerals 2018, 8(7), 269; https://doi.org/10.3390/min8070269 - 26 Jun 2018
Abstract
This study provides an overview of the few archaeometric analyses of European white earthenwares from England, France, Italy, Slovenia, and Switzerland. White earthenwares were an extremely successful mass-product between ca. 1750 and 1900. They became “the porcelain of the poor man” and replaced [...] Read more.
This study provides an overview of the few archaeometric analyses of European white earthenwares from England, France, Italy, Slovenia, and Switzerland. White earthenwares were an extremely successful mass-product between ca. 1750 and 1900. They became “the porcelain of the poor man” and replaced the older traditional pottery such as faïence. The invention of this new ceramic type took place simultaneously in England and France shortly before 1750. Contemporary recipes can be compared to the analytical results of these products. The ceramic bodies are, according to the chemical (X-ray fluorescence (XRF), scanning electron microscope-energy-dispersive X-ray spectroscopy (SEM-EDS), particle-induced X-ray emission-proton-induced X-ray emission (PIXE-PIGE) and microscopic analyses (scanning electron microscope-back scatter detector (SEM-BSE), artificial mixtures of clay + quartz + flux. Various techniques can be recognized. In England, a blend of a CaO-poor clay (with illite flux) + calcined flint is typical of the so-called creamware, whereas supplementary fluxes (Cornish stone) resulted in the Queen’s ware. In France and Central Europe, CaO-poor clays were mixed with grog (Paris) or with calcined flint/quartz pebbles/sand or with carbonates + Alk-/Pb-frits (Lorraine). Swiss CaO-rich bodies may contain bone ash or dolomite as flux. The products of the individual factories can be differentiated on the basis of their chemical composition. Micromorphological and chemical analyses revealed intensive physico-chemical reactions between the glaze and the body. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Mineralogical Applications for Cultural Heritage)
Show Figures

Figure 1

Open AccessReview
Mineral Pigments in Archaeology: Their Analysis and the Range of Available Materials
Minerals 2018, 8(5), 201; https://doi.org/10.3390/min8050201 - 08 May 2018
Cited by 5
Abstract
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 [...] Read more.
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. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Mineralogical Applications for Cultural Heritage)
Show Figures

Figure 1

Other

Jump to: Research, Review

Open AccessCase Report
Characterization of the Lime Mortars of the Rui Barbosa House Museum in Rio De Janeiro, Brazil
Minerals 2018, 8(2), 50; https://doi.org/10.3390/min8020050 - 03 Feb 2018
Cited by 1
Abstract
The aim of this research is to characterize the mortars of the Rui Barbosa House Museum, built in 1850, in the city of Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, using X-ray diffraction (XRD), gel-CSH determination, Fourier Transform Infrared spectrometry (FTIR), Wavelength-Dispersive X-ray Fluorescence spectrometry (WDXRF), [...] Read more.
The aim of this research is to characterize the mortars of the Rui Barbosa House Museum, built in 1850, in the city of Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, using X-ray diffraction (XRD), gel-CSH determination, Fourier Transform Infrared spectrometry (FTIR), Wavelength-Dispersive X-ray Fluorescence spectrometry (WDXRF), Thermo gravimetric analysis (TG-DTG), and granulometric analysis. Also, petrographic and physical characteristics such as porosity, water absorption, and apparent density of the mortars were used to identify the raw materials employed in their preparation. Mineralogical associations found are similar (quartz, calcite, kaolinite, microcline, muscovite, and albite) for the majority of samples and only vary in their proportions; the most prominent phases are quartz and calcite. The collected data, indicating that the binder is hydrated lime, lead us to conclude that the analyzed samples are lime mortars, discarding the possibility of cement as the binder material. Two samples, located on the corner of the building, which underwent repairs, present a differentiated behavior, with high levels of dolomite and the presence of pozzolanic material, with greater water absorption and higher density, indicating the use of a different mortar type. In addition, it was verified that the WDXRF and XRD methods are able to determine the trace element composition with comparable precision with respect to the methodological approach proposed by Teutonico (1988). In addition, it has been verified that the major pollutant causing degradation of building are sulfur emitted by the vehicles and saline spray. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Mineralogical Applications for Cultural Heritage)
Show Figures

Figure 1

Open AccessCase Report
Pyrite Decay of Large Fossils: The Case Study of the Hall of Palms in Padova, Italy
Minerals 2018, 8(2), 40; https://doi.org/10.3390/min8020040 - 25 Jan 2018
Abstract
Pyrite decay is arguably the major problem in geological and palaeontological conservation, as it can cause total destruction in valuable specimens. Various methods have been devised since the 19th century to treat and prevent it with different degrees of success. Nevertheless, the conservation [...] Read more.
Pyrite decay is arguably the major problem in geological and palaeontological conservation, as it can cause total destruction in valuable specimens. Various methods have been devised since the 19th century to treat and prevent it with different degrees of success. Nevertheless, the conservation of large fossils at risk of pyrite decay remains an unsolved issue, because a feasible method for maintaining them in a controlled microclimate that is suitable for specimens on public display has remained elusive. This paper describes the study carried out to investigate the alterations that developed in a large fossil palm of the collection of the Museum of Geology and Palaeontology in Padova (Italy), already treated for pyrite decay several years before. Results of X-ray powder diffraction and Raman spectroscopy performed on samples collected from that fossil palm confirmed that the alterations were due to pyrite decay. The microclimate indoors (inside showcases and in the Hall itself) and outdoors was monitored for one year to investigate its possible relation with the damage observed. The measured thermo-hygrometric conditions exceeded the recommended thresholds for the prevention of pyrite oxidation and indicated the fossils were at high risk of damage from that process. This study demonstrates that treatment alone is not sufficient for the conservation of fossils at risk of pyrite decay and that it can be ineffective without a proper management of the microclimatic conditions under which the fossils are preserved. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Mineralogical Applications for Cultural Heritage)
Show Figures

Figure 1

Back to TopTop