Anatase—a pigment in ancient artwork or a modern usurper?
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Fragments of wall-paintings from Roman villas in Easton Maudit, which date from ca 150 AD have been studied by Raman spectroscopy. An intact ancient Roman paint pot discovered in the remains of a villa in Castor, Cambridgeshire, still containing a mixture of white and red pigment was also analysed and the pigments identified as haematite and anatase. The discovery of anatase in the intact artist’s paint pot, particularly, and also on fragments of broken paint pots from the Easton Maudit villa site, is a unique contribution to current knowledge of ancient European pigment history, because the presence of this mineral has not hitherto been recognised fully in an ancient artist’s palette. The relative spectral response of anatase and haematite in the Raman data is compared with that of anatase and other red pigments such as minium, cinnabar, and litharge.
KeywordsRoman villa Paint pot Raman spectroscopy Anatase
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