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Characterising the pigment on a Mesolithic cranium from Corsica using ion beam analysis

Lambert, M. and Courtaud, P. and Le Bourdonnec, F.-X. and Lemasson, Q. and Pichon, L. and Leandri, F. and Cesari, J. and Bressy-Leandri, C. and Skeates, R. (2022) 'Characterising the pigment on a Mesolithic cranium from Corsica using ion beam analysis.', Nuclear Instruments and Methods in Physics Research Section B: Beam Interactions with Materials and Atoms, 529 . pp. 24-28.


Characterising thin mineral layers on heterogeneous media is a significant challenge in archaeometry. Nevertheless, obtaining such geochemical and mineralogical data can, in many cases, provide valuable information about the original raw-material procurement strategies and document the chaîne opératoire leading to the finished object. In this contribution, we report on the geochemical analysis of a thin layer of red mineral pigment found on a skull from the Mesolithic burial of Campu Stefanu, Corsica. A proton ion beam analysis was conducted at the New AGLAE facilities (Palais du Louvre, Paris) to determine major, minor and trace element compositions. Contribution from the pigment’s elemental composition is statistically differentiated from that of the bone and the sediment. Furthermore, the composition of the pigment is shown to be compatible with that of iron-oxide rich mineral blocks found within the mortuary deposits.

Item Type:Article
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Available under License - Creative Commons Attribution 4.0.
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Publisher statement:This is an open access article under the CC BY license
Date accepted:12 August 2022
Date deposited:09 November 2022
Date of first online publication:05 September 2022
Date first made open access:09 November 2022

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