IBeA research group collaborates since 2015 with the “Applied Research Laboratory of Pompeii”, fruit of the agreement signed the same year with the “Archaeological Park of Pompeii”. In this agreement between the two parties there are two broad lines of action:
1. Characterization of the collection of pigments and dyes preserved in the warehouse of the “Applied Research Laboratory of Pompeii”, through the use of portable instrumentation based on non-destructive molecular and elemental analytical techniques.
2. Presentation of a joint research project to characterize and diagnose building materials, paintings and mosaics that decorate a Pompeian house, in order to obtain a detailed view of the nature of the original materials, products of degradation that affect them and the role of the environment in their development.
Therefore, according to these two previous points, the activities and joint research projects that were proposed respectively are:
1. IBeA research group undertakes to make available to the Superintendency the scientific instrumentation and research staff necessary to study the molecular and elemental composition of the pigments contained in the more than 260 vessels currently preserved in the warehouse of the “Applied Research Laboratory of Pompeii”. The collaboration between researchers of IBeA group and the technical staff of the “Applied Research Laboratory of Pompeii”, stimulates a process of integration of competences between personnel specialized in complementary disciplines. This collaboration provides an exchange of knowledge that enriches the technical skills of the personnel involved, fulfilling the requirements of excellence and interdisciplinarity that the study of such an important heritage requires.
2. In the second area of research, the instrumentation described above will be applied to the study of construction and decorative materials, as well as the mural paintings of a Pompeian house called “Casa Degli Amorini Dorati” as a work area.
In this way, and under the agreement signed with the Archaeological Park of Pompeii, our research group collaborates with the “Applied Research Laboratory of Pompeii”,, which has a wide collection of pigments and dyes that were recovered in their clay bowls originals of the burial of Pompeii and Oplontis.
Thanks to the collaboration between both research groups, the pigments and dyes are completely characterized. This characterization tries to know completely the elemental and molecular composition of the samples under study through non-invasive analytical techniques to:
1. Identify the main compound or compounds (mixtures to obtain different shades) responsible for giving color to the inorganic or organic pigment (lake pigments) by a direct non-invasive analysis and without need to destroy the sample.
2. Determine the nature of the inorganic substrate used to produce the lake pigments.
3. Identify the minor or trace elements present in the inorganic or lake pigments, which can provide information about the origin of the materials, or in other cases, possible enrichments due to the years that have been buried.
In addition to the characterization, new analytical procedures are also being developed to identify compounds, which would be impossible to detect by direct analysis using traditional spectroscopic techniques. In this sense, it is possible to highlight the optimization of an analytical procedure based on the application of Surface Ennhnced Raman Spectroscopy (SERS) to identify organic dyes in lake pigments. This procedure would allow the determination of the nature of pink-purple dyes in lake pigments from the collection of pigments available from “Applied Research Laboratory of Pompeii”,, as this methodology has been previously successfully applied in the determination of the presence of the dye madder lake (1,2-dihydroxyanthraquinone and 1,2,4-trihydroxyanthraquinone) in Pompeii’s pink and purple lake pigments preserved in the Archaeological Museum of Naples.