Multi-Scale Characterization of Unusual Green and Blue Pigments from the Pharaonic Town of Amara West, Nubia
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Fulcher, K., Siddall, R., Emmett, T. F., & Spencer, N. (2021). Multi-Scale Characterization of Unusual Green and Blue Pigments from the Pharaonic Town of Amara West, Nubia. Heritage, 4 (3), 2563-2579. https://doi.org/10.3390/heritage4030145
Pigments from paint palettes and a grindstone excavated from the pharaonic town of Amara West (c. 1300–1050 BCE), which lies between the Second and Third Cataracts of the Nile, were examined using polarized light microscopy, attenuated total reflection Fourier transform infrared spectroscopy (ATR-FTIR), X-ray diffraction, and scanning electron microscopy with energy dispersive X-ray spectroscopy. Most of the pigments were consistent with the typical ancient Egyptian palette, but the greens and some blues were unusual. Two types of green pigment were identified, chlorite (varieties clinochlore and penninite) and copper chloride hydroxide (atacamite type). The former constitutes a type of green earth which has only rarely been identified in pharaonic Egyptian contexts and may be more widespread than is currently reported. The majority of the blue pigment samples were Egyptian blue, but some were found to be a blue earth, the main component of which being sodic amphibole riebeckite. The use of this mineral as a pigment has not previously been reported in any Nile Valley context. These results prompt questions around local and potentially indigenous practices within an ancient colonial context, and highlight avenues for future research.
pigments, ancient Egypt, Nubia, Egyptian blue, atacamite, green earth, riebeckite
Arts and Humanities Research Council (1350956)
External DOI: https://doi.org/10.3390/heritage4030145
This record's URL: https://www.repository.cam.ac.uk/handle/1810/328348