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Archaeometry Laboratory

Responsabile Scientifico (RADOR)
 081-2538115 Fax: 081-2538118
Archeometry (measurement of that is old) is the application of scientific disciplines, through laboratory analysis, to the study of archaeological and cultural heritage, including assets of historical, artistic, architectural interest.
An archaeometric characterization is useful to derive, from the archaeological contexts, relevant information mandatory for a more complete historical and technological investigation on studied materials, for diagnostic purposes and to assess their state of conservation, and thus planning a correct restoration procedure.
The archeometry laboroatory of the DiSTAR have equipments useful to investigate archaeometric features of different materials type (such as stone materials, ceramics, mortars, plasters, paintings, etc.).
All analyses are performed for research projects carried out within the Department of Earth Sciences, Environment and Resources (DiSTAR) and for private and public commission.
Pottery and bricks
Image analysis and modal analysis equipment:
Binocular microscope Leica L2, polarizing microscope Leica Laborlux 12 pol, Leica DFC 280 camera, Leica Qwin Computer with software for image and modal analysis.
Sistema computerizzato di analisi al microscopio
Computerized microscope analysis
Type of activities: Macroscopic analysis of ceramic samples and observation  by means of binocular microscope.
Esempi macroscopici di impasti di ceramiche archeologiche
Examples of macroscopic bodies of archaeological ceramics


Petrographic analysis of thin sections to obtain textural characteristics of investigated samples and determine their composition in terms of the various constituents.

Foto di sezioni sottili di ceramiche archeologiche al microscopio polarizzatore

Thin sections photographs of archaeological ceramics under polarizing microscope


Morphometric measurements in thin section by means of digital image analysis and digital modal analysis to quantify the proportion of the various constituents in the archaeological samples (rocks, soils, ceramics, bricks, cement, etc.).
Analisi modale computerizzata
Computed aided modal analysis  

Stratigraphic sections of mortar, plaster, paint layers, mosaics, etc.. 

Sezione stratigrafica di intonaco

Stratigraphic section of plaster
Sezione stratigrafica di mosaico su malta
Stratigraphic section of mosaic on mortar


X-ray fluorescence spectroscopy (XRF)

spetroscopia in fluorescenza di X XRF

PANalytical Axios Xray fluorescence spectrometer, equipped with SuperQ PANalytical software.
Activities performed:
Chemical analysis of major oxides and trace elements in rocks, soils, ceramics, bricks, cement, stucco, plasters.


X-ray diffraction powder diffraction  (XRPD) equipment:
- Philips PW3710/1730 theta/2theta double goniometer and dual detector
- PANalytical X'Pert Pro theta/theta with samples changer (45 positions), with fast RTMS X'Celerator detector.
Activities performed:
Qualitative and quantitative mineralogical analysis of fired ceramic samples, raw clay materials.
XRPD spectrum of pottery with indication of mineral phases.
Esempio di diffrattogramma di un reperto ceramico in cui è possibile distinguere le fasi mineralogiche

Esempio di diffrattogramma di un reperto ceramico in cui è possibile distinguere le fasi mineralogiche.


XRF spectrometry and XRD diffraction portable instrument for non-destructive investigations

Spettrometria XRF e diffrattometria RX portatili per indagini non distruttive
This instruments allows to perform in situ non-destructive investigations by providing qualitative information of the chemical and mineralogical composition of the material.
Activities performed: Non-destructive analysis of polycrystalline materials (frescoes, plasters, etc.), Identification of pigments on the surfaces of the frescoes, in situ characterization of mortars..

Misure effettuate sulle pareti dellipogeo di Caivano

Measurements made on the walls of the Hypogeum of Caivano


colore elemento pigmento

element color pigment
oMisure effettuate al Museo Archeologico Nazionale di Napoli su lastre tombali Egnazia 2 Misure effettuate al Museo Archeologico Nazionale di Napoli su lastre tombali Egnazia


Measurements performed at National Archaeological Museum of Naples on Egnatia tombstones 
 Campagna di analisi nelle catacombe di S. Gennaro Capodimonte
Analyses in the S. Gennaro catacombs (Capodimonte) 


Colorimetric measurements 

Colorimetro Konica-Minolta CR-400
Equipment: Konica-Minolta colorimeter CR-400
These measurements allow to define unambiguously the chromatic and brightness characters of materials (link to photo). This technique is particularly useful in assessing the compatibility of protective intervention.
Activities performed::
Colorimetric measurements of frescoes, plaster, identification according XYZ color space, Yxy, L * a * b *, Hunter Lab, L * C * h, Munsell (illuminant C only), CMC (l: c), CIE1994, Lab99, LCh99, CIE2000, WI ASTM E313 (illuminant C only), YI ASTM D1925 (only illuminant C), YI ASTM E313 (only illuminant C). All activities are conducted for research projects and for performance of Distar third parties.
Misure colorimetriche effettuate durante la realizzazione del Piano del Colore di Napoli
Colorimetric measurements performed  during realization of Piano del Colore della città di Napoli


Scanning electron microscopy (SEM) and EDS

AEquipment: Scanning Electron Microscope Jeol JSM 5310 and EDS microanalysis Oxford INCAX Microscopio Elettronico a Scansione Jeol JSM 5310 e microanalisi EDS Oxford INCA
Scanning electron microscopy is an analytical technique that allows you to perform observations at the highest magnification (up to 100,000 times) of ceramic samples to study the structure and, from this, to be able to estimate the firing temperatures reached in ancient kilns.

Immagini al SEM di campioni di ceramica archeologica

SEM images of samples of archaeological ceramics 


The microprobe analysis (EDS) allows to obtain quantitative and qualitative information on the chemical composition of the minerals that are present in ceramic mixture.
Immagini al SEM in sezione sottile con fasi minerali analizzate tramite EDS in campioni di ceramica archeologica e mappe degli elementi diffusi nellimpasto ceramico
Thin section SEM images with mineral phases analyzed by EDS in  archaeological ceramics and maps of the chemical elements in investigated sample


Activities performed:
Cutting and precision cleaning of archaeological materials. Pulverization of materials for XRF analysis, XRPD, AAS and ICP MS. All activities are conducted for research projects of the Department of Earth Sciences, Environment and Resources and for public and private committment.
Multiutensile da taglio DREMEL
Multitool cutting DREMEL


Pressa pasticcatrice Herzog

Herzog pellet producer


mulino planetario a sfere Tetsch PM 100

Retsch Planetary Ball Mill PM 100