Multi-Scale Characterization of Unusual Green and Blue Pigments from the Pharaonic Town of Amara West, Nubia

Fulcher, Kate and Siddall, Ruth and Emmett, Trevor F. and Spencer, Neal (2021) Multi-Scale Characterization of Unusual Green and Blue Pigments from the Pharaonic Town of Amara West, Nubia. Heritage, 4 (3). pp. 2563-2579. ISSN 2571-9408

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Official URL: https://doi.org/10.3390/heritage4030145

Abstract

Pigments from paint palettes and a grindstone excavated from the pharaonic town of Amara West (c. 1300–1050 BCE), which lies between the Second and Third Cataracts of the Nile, were examined using polarized light microscopy, attenuated total reflection Fourier transform infrared spectroscopy (ATR-FTIR), X-ray diffraction, and scanning electron microscopy with energy dispersive X-ray spectroscopy. Most of the pigments were consistent with the typical ancient Egyptian palette, but the greens and some blues were unusual. Two types of green pigment were identified, chlorite (varieties clinochlore and penninite) and copper chloride hydroxide (atacamite type). The former constitutes a type of green earth which has only rarely been identified in pharaonic Egyptian contexts and may be more widespread than is currently reported. The majority of the blue pigment samples were Egyptian blue, but some were found to be a blue earth, the main component of which being sodic amphibole riebeckite. The use of this mineral as a pigment has not previously been reported in any Nile Valley context. These results prompt questions around local and potentially indigenous practices within an ancient colonial context, and highlight avenues for future research.

Item Type: Journal Article
Keywords: pigments, ancient Egypt, Nubia, Egyptian blue, atacamite, green earth, riebeckite
Faculty: Faculty of Science & Engineering
Depositing User: Lisa Blanshard
Date Deposited: 28 Oct 2021 13:02
Last Modified: 17 Jan 2022 15:23
URI: https://arro.anglia.ac.uk/id/eprint/707057

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