SCIENTIFIC AND TECHNICAL STUDIES

Radiocarbon

by C. Scirè Calabrisotto


During the 2010-2011 fieldwork seasons, within a research project of the University of Florence in collaboration with the Department of Antiquities of Cyprus and the INFN-LABEC Laboratory in Florence, charcoal samples from the Workshop Complex (Area A) and bone samples from the skeleton remains of Tombs 228, 230 and 248 were opportunely collected for radiocarbon purposes. The principal goal of the project was to cross-check the chronological sequence evidenced through stratigrapy and material assemblages with absolute dates procuced by radiocarbon dating of charcoal and bone samples.

All the collected samples were prepared and measured by AMS (Accelerator Mass Spectrometry) at the LABEC - Laboratorio di Tecniche Nucleari per i Beni Ambientali e Culturali - Laboratory of the INFN- Istituto Nazionale di Fisica Nucleare – in Florence.

Concerning samples processing, the pre-treatment phase of bone samples involves the extraction of the suitable organic fraction to be radiocarbon dated, i.e. collagen. Collagen content is strongly dependent upon the preservation state of bones, in other words, bad preserved bones are more likely to be low in collagen content, thus humpering the possibility of radiocarbon dating the sample. With regard to the bone material from the Southern Cemetery of Erimi-Laonin tou Porakou, bones were recovered in a bad preserved state, probably due to the intrinsic characteristics of the depositional environment. For this reason, some difficulties were encountered when performing collagen extraction from the bone samples, as collagen content was often too low to permit radiocarbon measurements.

Nevertheless, good results were obtained from the cross-analysis of archaeological evidence and radiocarbon results. Indeed, the overall radiocarbon dates obtained from charcoal and bone samples are consistent with the general occupation of the site area suggested on archaeological basis, i.e. the EC II/III to LC I period.  

 

Archaeometric studies

by F. Chelazzi


Since the early beginning of the archaeological project, the research is engaged with specialized studies on archaeological artefacts and contexts, both from survey and excavation, through the use of chemical and physical methods of analysis. The researches are undertaken in collaboration with the Department of Chemistry of the University of Turin and the Centro di Incubatori di Impresa – Torino.

Several topics make up this research activity as well as several techniques of analysis are used in order to characterize materials and contexts in terms of chemical and mineralogical composition, high-resolution characterization and productive activities.

The first topic is the investigation of Red Polished Ware (the key-ware in Early and Middle Cypriote periods) in order to examine its productive processes, from the clay-sources exploitation to the firing activities.The samples, collected during the two survey campaigns, have been analysed through several complementary methods of analysis: SEM-EDX (Scanning Electron Microscopy coupled with Energy Dispersive X-Ray microanalysis), XRPD (X-Ray Powder Diffraction) and UV-vis diffuse reflectance analiysis) in order to furnish an holistic picture of the pottery productive know-how of the period as well as to investigate the distinctive features of the south-coast ceramic horizon.

A second theme is represented by the chemical and morphological characterization of a Zinc metal slag found during the excavation of the Workshop Complex (Area A). As far as this topic is concerned, interesting data have been acquired in terms of smelting productive processes and local minerary ores, through the use of an analytical set of techniques involving XRD, XRF (X-Ray Fluorescence) and SEM-EDX.

Thridly, the research affected the investigation of possible osteological traces into several apparently-empty tombs excavated in Area A. As it is not so rare to find tombs without any bone remain, the research aimed to identify possible traces of Phosphorus (indicator of the presence of organic materials). XRPD and FTIR (Fourier transform infrared spectroscopy) revealed, in the tombs’ filling soils, the presence of Dhallite which is a calcium mineral very similar to the mineral portion of bones and teeth. In order to support the hypothesis of a complete degradation of bones, the research is enriched by analyses (mass los on ignition, pH value, exchangeable acidity, conductivity, water-soluble cations and anions) performed on local soils in order to test their aggressivity.

The last research branch concerns the chemical, mineralogical and morphological characterization of the binders used in architectural features and building techniques. Through the use of XRPD and SEM-EDX, several plaster samples have been analysed: the compositional data indetified the samples as “lime plaster”, while the morphological data suggested the presence of two main funcional types of binder: a ’type 1’ which is very coarse and characterized by a massive addiction of organic fibres and a ‘type 2’ which is finer and more powdery. The first one seems to has been used in contexts requiring a particular resistance (as coating rock-cut basins or supporting stone slabs bin), while the second has been used in contexts where more adaptability and plasticity were needed (to fix orthostates and fill their interstices).

 

Anthropological survey

by E. Albertini


Anthropological analysis of skeletal remains from archaeological contexts represents an essential contribution to the understanding of a population's lifestyles. In particular paleodemographic reconstruction requires anthropometric and morphological analyzes for which it is essential the good preservation of osteological finds. Further analyzes concern the paleonutritional study, the paleopatological and occupational stress analyzes. As you can understand the purpose is to reconstruct a complete biological profile of a population taking into account not only the data collected in laboratory but also the recovery context and thus analyzing burial practices and eventually post-depositional taphonomic processes.

Regarding research project the anthropological analysis involved human remains from Tombs 228, 220 and 248 from the Southern Cemetery of Erimi-Laonin tou Porakou. As far as the osteological material from Tombs 248 concern the results are still preliminary and require further focus investigation.

The analysis shows for the Tomb 230 an adult female but due to the fragmentary state of remains was not possible to make an accurate diagnosis of sex using standard morphological criteria. An interesting data regards the high value of pilastric index of the left femur used for detecting deviations from the norm in bone's shape. This evidence is related to an intense muscolar work of the tight. Regarding the MNI of the grave the discovery of two additional mid-shaft fragments of right and left humerus relevant to another individual allows the identification of a second buried. Nevertheless given the fact that the second individual is represented by one anatomic element, it seems more correct to suppose a reuse of tomb instead of a multiple grave. On the contrary Tomb 228 contained multiple burials referable to four individuals among whom one male, one female and one subadult of no definable age. It was possible to estimate death-age of male subiect, the only one whose theeth are found, by studying dental wear. The results allow to estimate death in a young-adult age (between 25-35 years). The indicators of biomechanical stress, obtained through anthropometric indixes, suggest for adults an intensive pressures on both upper and lower limbs. Concerning pathologies, one individual presumably shows a healed fracture correctly joined, with consequent formation of a callus, located halfway to the diaphysis of left femur.

Università di Torino
Università di Torino