Micro Raman spectroscopy (MRS) and energy dispersive x-ray microfluorescence (μEDXRF) analysis of pigments in the Iberian cemetery of Tutugi (from the fourth to the third century bc, Galera, Granada, Spain)


  • This article is part of the Journal of Raman Spectroscopy special issue entitled “Raman spectroscopy in art and archaeology” edited by Juan Manuel Madariaga and Danilo Bersani.

Alberto Sánchez, Andalusian Centre for Iberian Archaeology, University of Jaén, Jaén, Spain.

E-mail: vizcaino@ujaen.es


Recent archaeological research on the Iberian cemetery of Tutugi (from fourth to third century bc), in the administrative term of Galera (Granada, Spain), has granted access to a range of materials revealing major features of Iberian culture. The only information available on pigments in the Iberian culture refers to domestic ceramic and the inside covering of burials. This paper expands on the previous discussion by incorporating pigment studies of the decoration of highly symbolic ceramic vessels, a funerary urn and a glass paste vessel of three burials of the cemetery of Tutugi.

Regarding the method, the pigment study relied on the mineralogical and elemental analysis using non-destructive spectroscopic techniques such as micro Raman spectroscopy (MRS) and Energy Dispersive X-Ray Microfluorescence (μEDXRF). These studies are used more and more frequently for research on archaeological items for their advantages over other techniques.

The results obtained indicate the use of hematite, cinnabar and gypsum in the decoration of ceramic vessels. The pigments used for the urn were made with hematite, gypsum and amorphous carbon. Naples yellow and Egyptian blue were used as pigments in the fragment of glass paste vessel.

Overall, joint use of MRS and μEDXRF provides highly valuable data on the processes used for pigment-making, on the use of certain minerals that are highly symbolic among Iberians, such as cinnabar, and provides new evidence for the preservation of archaeological items retrieved from the burial site. Copyright © 2012 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.