IAEA Activities on Cultural Heritage, Archaeology and other Characterization Applications
Trace element determination is crucial for identifying the provenance and authenticity of intact ancient objects such as cultural and art artefacts, archaeological findings and forensic materials, geological objects, etc. A non-destructive technique suitable for analysis of trace elements in bulk-samples is highly needed. The IAEA initiated a series of coordinated research projects (CRP) to support Member States on their R&D programs. Large Sample Neutron Activation Analysis (LSNAA) is a very attractive non-destructive technique that can be applied without a need for sub-sampling and homogenization. LSNAA can be operated in ‘on-line’ mode which is based on the use of isotopic neutron sources, neutron generators and prompt gamma analysis. An on-going CRP focuses primarily on the application of LSNAA in the area of archaeological and geological programmes. However, further utilization of LSNAA in other subjects of industry and research is promising. Large scale campaigns of archaeological excavations are undertaken in the Mediterranean region. The IAEA is supporting Technical Cooperation projects in the Middle East in view of studying authenticity and origin of objects of art and archaeology, as well as to characterize new elaborated materials or environmental samples, making use of Ion Beam Accelerators (IBA) as nuclear analytical tool and other nuclear analytical techniques. The application of nuclear analytical tools in archaeology is of special concern as many common ancient civilizations are shared by the Mediterranean state. The main IBA techniques to be used are: PIXE, PIGE and RBS, as well as XRF. To take advantage of these nuclear techniques, many researchers from the participating countries have initiated several studies and exchange of experience, knowledge, results and expertise is on-going.
Maher Soueidan, Mohamad Roumié and Pierre Masri
F. Mulhauser et al., "IAEA Activities on Cultural Heritage, Archaeology and other Characterization Applications", Advanced Materials Research, Vol. 324, pp. 52-57, 2011