Applied Physics A

, 122:820 | Cite as

Metal alloys, matrix inclusions and manufacturing techniques of Moinhos de Golas collection (North Portugal): a study by micro-EDXRF, SEM–EDS, optical microscopy and X-ray radiography

  • Joana Loureiro
  • Elin Figueiredo
  • Rui J. C. Silva
  • M. Fátima Araújo
  • João Fonte
  • Ana M. S. Bettencourt
Part of the following topical collections:
  1. Sustainable solutions for restoration and conservation of cultural heritage


A collection of 35 metallic artefacts comprising various typologies, some of which can be attributed to the Bronze Age and others to later periods, were studied to provide detailed information on elemental composition, manufacturing techniques and preservation state. Elemental analysis by micro-EDXRF and SEM–EDS was performed to investigate the use of different alloys and to study the presence of microstructural heterogeneities, as inclusions. X-ray radiography, optical microscopy and SEM–EDS were used to investigate manufacturing techniques and degradation features. Results showed that most of the artefacts were produced in a binary bronze alloy (Cu–Sn) with 10–15 wt% Sn and a low concentration of impurities. Other artefacts were produced in copper or in brass, the latest with varying contents of Zn, Sn and Pb. A variety of inclusions in the metal matrices were also found, some related to specific types of alloys, as (Cu–Ni)S2 in coppers, or ZnS in brasses. Microstructural observations revealed that the majority of the artefacts were subjected to cycles of thermomechanical processing after casting, being evident that among some artefacts different parts were subjected to distinct treatments. The radiographic images revealed structural heterogeneities related to local corrosion processes and fissures that seem to have developed in wear-tension zones, as in the handle of some daggers. Radiographic images were also useful to detect the use of different materials in one particular brass artefact, revealing the presence of a possible Cu–Sn solder.


Slip Band Energy Dispersive Spectrometer Annealing Twin Metallic Artefact Energy Dispersive Spectrometer Analysis 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.



This work was funded by FEDER funds through the COMPETE 2020 Programme and National Funds through FCT—Fundação para a Ciência e Tecnologia under the project UID/CTM/50025/2013 to CENIMAT/I3N. C2TN/IST authors gratefully acknowledge the FCT support through the UID/Multi/04349/2013 project. EF acknowledges FCT for the grant SFRH/BPD/97360/2013. JF acknowledge FCT for the grant SFRH/BD/65143/2009. Part of this project has been done in the framework of the FCT project ENARDAS (PTDC/HISARQ/112983/2009).


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2016

Authors and Affiliations

  • Joana Loureiro
    • 1
  • Elin Figueiredo
    • 2
  • Rui J. C. Silva
    • 2
  • M. Fátima Araújo
    • 3
  • João Fonte
    • 4
    • 5
  • Ana M. S. Bettencourt
    • 5
  1. 1.Departamento de Conservação e Restauro, Faculdade de Ciências e TecnologiaUniversidade NOVA de LisboaCaparicaPortugal
  2. 2.Centro de Investigação em Materiais (CENIMAT/I3N), Departamento de Ciência dos Materiais, Faculdade de Ciências e TecnologiaUniversidade NOVA de LisboaCaparicaPortugal
  3. 3.Centro de Ciências e Tecnologias Nucleares (C2TN), Instituto Superior TécnicoUniversidade de LisboaBobadela LRSPortugal
  4. 4.Instituto de Ciencias del Patrimonio (Incipit)Consejo Superior de Investigaciones Cientificas (CSIC)Santiago de CompostelaSpain
  5. 5.Laboratório de Paisagens, Património e Território (Lab2PT/UM), Departamento de HistóriaUniversidade do MinhoBragaPortugal

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