May 30, 2013

New testing technology could reveal info on original colour of Parthenon Sculptures

Posted at 12:47 pm in Elgin Marbles

The Partheon Sculptures were originally coloured. Now a new technology may be able to detect more minute traces of the original pigments, enabling us to build up a clearer idea of exactly how ancient painted artefacts might ave looked originally.

Nanotechnology Now

The fabled ivory carvings from the ancient Phoenician city of Arslan Tash — literally meaning “Stone Lion” — may appear a dull monochrome in museums today, but they glittered with brilliant blue, red, gold and other colors 2,800 years ago, a new study has confirmed after decades of speculation. It appears in the ACS journal Analytical Chemistry.

Re-creating the original colors of treasured ivory carvings from the ancient past
Washington, DC | Posted on May 29th, 2013

Ina Reiche and colleagues explain that these carvings are rare, housed in museums like the Louvre, and art experts regard them as the most beautiful ivory carvings of the era. Experts long believed that the lion heads, amulets and other objects were brightly colored, rather than the bland beiges and whites that remain today. But until recently, there was no adequate way to test the ivories for traces of pigment without damaging these priceless objects.

The scientists describe how a non-destructive testing technology brought to life traces of red, blue and other pigments — and gold gilding — allowing re-creation of the long-vanished colors that decorated the original ivories. In addition to contributing to a new understanding of the Phoenician carvings, the technology could be used to glimpse the original paintings on other objects, the authors note. Those include the Elgin Marbles, the classical Greek marble sculptures that originally were part of the Parthenon and other buildings on the Acropolis in Athens.

The authors acknowledge funding from a doctoral grant from the Université Pierre et Marie Curie (UPMC).


About American Chemical Society (ACS)
The American Chemical Society is a nonprofit organization chartered by the U.S. Congress. With more than 163,000 members, ACS is the world’s largest scientific society and a global leader in providing access to chemistry-related research through its multiple databases, peer-reviewed journals and scientific conferences. Its main offices are in Washington, D.C., and Columbus, Ohio.

For more information, please click here

Ina Reiche, Ph.D.
Laboratoire d’Archéologie Moléculaire et Structurale (LAMS)
UPMC Université
Paris 06, UMR 8220 CNRS
75005 Paris

Science Inquiries:
Michael Woods

General Inquiries:
Michael Bernstein

Copyright © American Chemical Society (ACS)
If you have a comment, please Contact us.

Issuers of news releases, not 7th Wave, Inc. or Nanotechnology Now, are solely responsible for the accuracy of the content.

VN:F [1.9.22_1171]
Rating: 0.0/5 (0 votes cast)

Possibly related articles

Tags: , ,

1 Comment »

  1. clarefly said,

    05.30.13 at 1:05 pm

    RT @elginism: Blog post: New testing technology could reveal info on original colour of Parthenon Sculptures

RSS feed for comments on this post

Leave a Comment

We want to hear your views. Be as critical or controversial as you like, but please don't get personal or offensive. Remember this is for feedback and constructive discussion!
Comments may be edited or removed if they do not meet these guidelines. Repeat offenders will be blocked from posting further comments. Any comment deemed libellous by Elginism's editors will be removed.
The commenting system uses some automatic spam detection and occasionally comments do not appear instantly - please do not repost comments if they do not show up straight away