Research activity

Analytical applications

Archaeometry

Contact: Alíz Simon, a.simon (at) atomki.hu

Ion beam analytical investigations are focussed on the determination of provenance, authenticity, production technology, and degradation due to environmental effects of art and archaeological objects. They also contribute to the elaboration of conservation technologies. Our research has been carried out in the framework of national and international projects such as: COST Actions G1 and G8, Hungarian Scientific Research Fund (OTKA) in co-operations with CNRS Centre Ernest Babelon (Orléans, France), Laboratoire de Recherche des Musées de France (Paris, France), Cyclotron Laboratory, Institute of Atomic Physics (Bucharest, Romania), Centro Nacional de Aceleradores, Universidad de Sevilla (Seville, Spain), CSIC: Instituto de Historia, Departamento de Prehistoria (Madrid, Spain) and primarily with the Hungarian National Museum and Budapest History Museum. There are published results in the field of analytical characterization of radiolarite samples from the Carpathian basin [55], prehistoric incrusted potteries [56], archaeological bronze metals [57], ancient silver coins (drachms) [58], classical white lead pigments [12], etc.

The IBA analysis of glassy materials is an important part of the activity of our laboratory in archaeometry. The aim of the analysis of obsidians originated from the Cenozoic volcanic Tokaj Mountains (NE Hungary-E Slovakia) [59] was to find sub-groups among the classified obsidian sources. The results completed the LITHOTECA database of the Hungarian National Museum. On the basis of elemental composition obtained by the analyses of classical ring-stones and their imitations [60] an unambiguous separation was made among groups of some artefacts related to their origin. Medieval glass products, came to light from archaeological excavations in the former royal palaces Buda and Visegrád (see figure below) as well as close to the historical downtown of Győr, were the subjects of other studies [61-63]. Determination of major elemental composition of samples made it possible to unambiguously distinguish between local Hungarian products and imported Venetian ones. The trace element composition of cobalt blue Hungarian glasses exactly fitted into the chronological groups established in the earlier study.


Venetian pottery piece from the 15th century
(Visegrád Palace, Visegrád, Hungary)

References:

[12] I. Rajta, M.A. Ontalba, E. Koltay, Á.Z. Kiss: Study of white lead paint layers by the Debrecen nuclear microprobe, Nucl. Instr. and Meth. B 130 (1997) 315

[55] Z. Elekes, K.T. Bíró, I. Uzonyi, I. Rajta, Á.Z. Kiss: Geochemical analysis of radiolarite samples from the Carpathian basin, Nucl. Instr. and Meth. B 170 (2000) 501

[56] G.Á. Szíki, K.T. Bíró, I. Uzonyi, E. Dobos, Á.Z. Kiss: Investigation of incrusted pottery found in the territory of Hungary by micro-PIXE method, Nucl. Instr. and Meth. B 210 (2003) 478

[57] L. Reményi, A. Endr?di, E. Baradács, Á.Z. Kiss, I. Uzonyi, I. Montero, S. Rovira: Possible links between Hungarian and Spanish Beaker metallurgy, In: A. Denker et al.: COST Action G8: Non-destructive testing and analysis of museum objects. Fraunhofer IRB Verlag, 2006, ISBN-10: 3-8167-7178-5, P.O. Box 80 04 69, D-70504 Stuttgart, pp. 17-24.

[58] I. Uzonyi, R. Bugoi, A. Sasianu, Á.Z. Kiss, B. Constantinescu, M. Torbágyi: Characterization of Dyrrhachium silver coins by micro-PIXE method, Nucl. Instr. and Meth. B 161 (2000) 748

[59] Z. Elekes, I. Uzonyi, B. Gratuze, P. Rózsa, Á.Z. Kiss, Gy. Szöor: Contribution of PIGE technique to the study of obsidian glasses, Nucl. Instr. and Meth. B 161 (2000) 836

[60] I. Borbély-Kiss, T. Gesztelyi, Z. Elekes, I. Rajta, E. Koltay, Á.Z. Kiss: Investigation of classical ringstones and their imitations, 5th International Conference on Non-Destructive Testing, Microanalytical Methods and Environmental Evaluation for Study and Conservation of Works of Art. ART'96. Budapest, Hungary, September 24-28, 1996. Proceedings. Budapest (1996) 131-143.

[61] B. Gratuze, I. Uzonyi, Z. Elekes, Á.Z. Kiss, E. Mester: Cobalt-blue glass pigment trade in Europe during medieval times, In: G. Demortier and A. Adriaens: Ion beam study of art and archaeological objects. A contribution by members of the COST G1 Action. Office for Official Publications of the European Communities (2000). (ISBN 92-828-7652-7), Luxembourg, pp. 50-53.

[62] B. Gratuze, I. Uzonyi, Z. Elekes, Á.Z. Kiss, E. Mester: A study of Hungarian medieval glass composition: Preliminary results, Archaeometry 98. Proceedings of the 31st Symposium. Budapest, Hungary, April 26 - May 3, 1998. Ed.: Erzsébet Jerem and Katalin T. Bíró. Oxford, Archaeopress. (Archaeolingua. Central European Series 1) (BAR International Series 1043) 2 (2002) 565-572.

[63] I. Uzonyi, G. Tomka, Z. Szoboszlai, Zs. Kertész, A. Simon, Á.Z. Kiss: Ion-beam analysis of a medieval glass bottle excavated in Gyor, ATOMKI Annual Report 2008, p. 54. Paper 6.4