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Title: Characterizing paint technologies and recipes in Levantine and Schematic rock art: El Carche site as a case study (Jalance, Spain)
Author: Chieli, Annalisa
Vendrell Saz, Màrius
Roldán García, Clodoaldo
Pilar Giráldez
Domingo, Inés
Keywords: Arqueologia
Art prehistòric
Pintures rupestres
Prehistoric art
Rocks paintings
Issue Date: 15-Aug-2022
Publisher: Public Library of Science (PLoS)
Abstract: This paper contributes to current debates on the technologies and practices of prehistoric artists using the rock art site of el Carche (Jalance, Spain) as a case study. The site preserves both Levantine and Schematic paintings, yet poorly understood from an analytical point of view. In the past, it has even been argued how little differentiation there is between these two post-Paleolithic traditions in terms of paint composition. Our aim with this paper was to identify pigments, paint recipes and technologies and decipher the order of the superimpositions, both between Levantine motifs of different styles, and between these and the Schematic ones. To do so, we adopted a multi-stage and multi-technical analytical strategy, trying to find a balance between sound scientific investigation and impact on the art, considering the irreplaceable nature of this World Heritage rock art. As such, our approach begins with in situ non-invasive investigations using portable EDXRF, to then collect micro-samples for non-destructive analyses by means of Optical Microscopy, Scanning Electron Microscopy coupled with Energy Dispersive X-Ray Spectroscopy (SEM-EDX), micro-Raman Spectroscopy and Fourier Transform Infrared Spectroscopy (FTIR). One of the key highlights of these paper is the identification of up to four different paint compositions, produced with various hematite-based raw materials and different processing techniques. This variability had not been previously documented. Interestingly though, no direct correlations appear to exist between styles or sub-styles and recipes. Some of these paint mixtures were even shared by both traditions. These results are discussed in cultural terms, challenging previous interpretations suggesting a similar pigment composition between Levantine and Schematic art. Microstratigraphic analysis of the cross-sections only partially clarified the overlapping sequence unveiling the complexity of these analysis. They also revealed several degradation layers and external crusts related to rock alteration processes and biological formations. Their role in rock art conservation is also discussed.
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It is part of: PLoS One, 2022, vol. 17, num. 8, p. 1-36
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ISSN: 1932-6203
Appears in Collections:Articles publicats en revistes (Història i Arqueologia)
Articles publicats en revistes (Institut d’Arqueologia de la Universitat de Barcelona (IAUB))

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