Re.S.Artes
Le regard de la Science sur les Arts et le patrimoine culturel

Materials

Terracotta

ceramics, earthenware, casting core, oven structures, hearth stones …

Test of antiquity for objects of art, and dating for Archaeology using thermoluminescence (TL)

Terracotta objects (ceramics, earthenware, casting core, oven structures, hearth stones …) can be analyzed with thermoluminescence technique in order to evaluate the antiquity of the last heating or to provide a real date, depending on the treated problem.
For authentication purpose concerning in particular ancient African or Chinese sculptures, we propose to complement this approach by an X-ray imaging or a CT scan in order to check the homogeneity of the piece and to extrapolate the thermoluminescence result to the whole object.

For archaeological applications, the dating also requires specific radioactive measurements (by spectrometry gamma and/or ICP-MS).

Heating conditions characterization using TL and X-Ray diffraction (DX)

Coupling thermoluminescence and X-Ray diffraction can bring reliable information about temperatures reached by the terracotta at the time of firing or during their use.
Such approach participates to researches for the function of some archaeological structures (kiln or domestic oven, for instance) and for the reconstitution of ancient manufacturing techniques.

X-Ray imaging and state of conservation

For a condition report, X-Ray observation of terracotta objects reveals their manufacturing process and highlights the extent of previous restorations.

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