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Potential prospects in archaeological research by using optical spectroscopy through a black glass ocular

Publication date 2012
B-Phot Authors Wendy Meulebroeck, Hugo Thienpont
DOI 10.1117/12.981482
Citation
P. Cosyns, W. Meulebroeck, H. Thienpont, and K. Nys, “Potential prospects in archaeological research by using optical spectroscopy through a black glass ocular,” presented at the Proc. SPIE Integrated approaches to the study of historical glass - IAS12, 2012, vol. 8422, p. 842209.
Abstract The aim of this paper is to draw attention to the potential usefulness of optical spectroscopy within the archaeological discourse. We therefore use the standardized color coordinates and the transmittance spectra in the region between 350-1650 nm of nine fragmented Roman black glass artifacts from archaeological contexts in Avenches (Switzerland) and an intact piece from Tongeren (Belgium). Firstly, we demonstrate how the use of UV-Vis-NIR spectroscopy can help the archaeologist in understanding the various excavated features containing glass artifacts. The analysis of the optical spectra of Roman black glass artifacts demonstrates in the first place that an object has a very homogenous composition. The clustering of the different fragments with characteristic spectra permits to connect the pieces from various areas of an excavation to one single object or to several objects from the same batch. These results provide the archaeologist the possibility to merge recognized layers or to connect different features in the surrounding area. Secondly, we demonstrate how the use of UV-Vis-NIR spectroscopy can help improve the analysis process. This inexpensive method can facilitate a more convenient and purposive sampling by means of a preliminary inquiry, selecting the most interesting pieces out of a large group of artifacts suitable for chemical analysis.
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