Quantitative multiphase analysis of archaeological bronzes by neutron diffraction
In this paper, we report the first investigation on the potentials of neutron diffraction to characterize archaeological bronze artifacts. The preliminary feasibility of phase and structural analysis was demonstrated on standardised specimens with a typical bronze alloy composition. These were realised through different hardening and annealing cycles, simulating possible ancient working techniques. The Bragg peak widths that resulted were strictly dependent on the working treatment, thus providing an important analytical element to investigate ancient making techniques. The diagnostic criteria developed on the standardised specimens were then applied to study two Etruscan museum pieces. Quantitative multiphase analysis by Rietveld refinement of the diffraction patterns was successfully demonstrated. Furthermore, the analysis of patterns associated with different artifact elements also yielded evidence for some peculiar perspective of the neutron diffraction diagnostics in archeometric applications.