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Metal archaeological artefacts such as mail armour can be examined in numerous ways to extract information from the object. It can be assumed that, as textiles, different mail armours have different characteristics and behave accordingly and may have changed through time or geography. The behaviour and characteristics of mail armour depend substantially on the physical and mechanical properties of the mail fabric. These properties are contained within the archaeological remains and can still reveal important information on the characteristics of mail armour. However,
none of current methods and techniques is able to determine the physical and mechanical properties of the mail garment in its entirety.
Actually, there are three challenges to overcome. First, archaeological artefacts must be treated with care and should preferably not be submitted to tests that can be harmful to their condition. Second, archaeological mail is usually fragmented, damaged or corroded. And lastly, there are currently no standards for physical and mechanical testing of mail.
Identification of dyes is of great importance for the protection of textiles artefacts, as well as for further understanding the manufacturing process of ancient dyes. Moreover, the evaluation of degradation status can help conservators to reconstruct the original appearance of historical textile objects and predict the stability of their colors.
Natural organic dyes on textile are usually detected through molecular analytical methods. In particular, liquid chromatography (LC) and gas chromatography (GC) have been widely used in the dye analysis with high accuracy. However, they are invasive methods, as they are based on the analysis of organic extracts.
Recently, non-invasive methods based on spectroscopy technology, such as reflectance spectroscopy and fluorescence spectroscopy, received great attention. Reflectance spectroscopy is used for the characterization of paint films and pigments. In addition, Kubelka-Munk’s theoretical reflectivity of diffuse medium provides chances to quantitatively analyze mixtures of pigments by reflectance spectroscopy. When the scattering coefficient is independent of the wavelength, the typical absorption spectrum measured by the reflection can be used as a substitute indicator for the actual absorption spectra.
Mona Lisa, the icon of Western painting, painted at the very beginning of the 16th century by Leonardo da Vinci, needs no introduction.
In Master Verrocchio’s workshop, Leonardo learned a method of preparing paintings which included making a drawing on the paper and then transferring it onto the wood board by spolvero. In this technique, already described by Cennini in the 15th century, the drawing is first perforated with a needle, producing holes along the contours, and then placed on the plank; the subsequent application of a powdered black pigment leaves a series of black dots.
Differently from other portraits painted by Leonardo, for instance, The Lady with an Ermine, Ginevra de’ Benci and La Belle Ferronnière, where the spolvero had been detected, no traces of this technique were discovered in Mona Lisa.
The traditional means of observing spolvero under paintings is to use IR photography and IR reflectography. Despite the advancement in this techniques, also recent studies did not evidence the presence of this technique in Mona Lisa.
Silver was widely used in the production of ancient artifacts because of its excellent ductility, malleability and aesthetic appearance. However, some archaeological silver artifacts or, strictly speaking, silver-copper alloys are found to be brittle, due to long-term corrosion, mainly caused by intergranular corrosion. The mechanism is local galvanic attack between the Ag-enriched matrix (α phase) and the Cu-enriched grain boundary (β phase) but it is a rather complex process involving the differences in local electrochemical activities, difficult to be fully understood with the existing techniques.
In the paper Scanning electrochemical cell microscopy: A powerful method to study the intergranular corrosions of archaeological silver artifacts, by Shengyu Liu at al. published on the Journal of Cultural Heritage, Vol. 46, 2020, Pages 176-183, Scanning Electrochemical Cell Microscopy (SECCM) is proposed as a method to visualize local electrochemical activities at high spatial resolution.
In the last decades
the success of entertainment video game industry has given birth to new types of outputs in the field of cultural heritage, including serious games and some virtual museum applications
(based on mixed reality, virtual reality, virtual worlds, etc.) that share the same infrastructure and core games technologies and use virtual reconstruction and engagement mechanism for edutainment and educational purposes.
Virtual reconstruction is a great didactic tool as it improves cognitive processes making the historical and archaeological data easily comprehensible to anyone; within a video game this potential is reinforced by the dynamics of storytelling, and learning-by-doing. However, the virtual reconstruction of the past imposes many limitations and great effort to ensure the consistency and reliability of the reconstructive hypothesis: historical accuracy and validation are the keywords that portray the virtual backgrounds made for applied VR games. Indeed, producing such products requires a tailored workflow and large effort in terms of time and professionals involved to guarantee such faithfulness.