Object structure

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The residue filling the lines of the ornament

Subject and Keywords:

FTIR   μFTIR   SEM/EDS   bioapatite   collagen   black substance   elk antler   Late Palaeolithic   archaeology


Surfaces of Palaeolithic objects made of flint, bone and antler are sometimescovered by irregular stains from organic substances: resins, wood tar, waxes, etc. Someof these substances result from deliberate action, others are traces of deposition in ashesof a hearth. The most likely to be affected in this way are depressed features on the surfaceof an object. The surface of the artefact from Rusinowo is covered by intentionallyexecuted patterns, filled by a dark grey and a black substance partly, and in an irregularmanner. This black and grey substance was sampled from the grooves and studied viaFTIR, μFTIR (Fourier Transform Infrared Spectroscopy and micro-Fourier TransformInfrared Spectroscopy respectively) and SEM/EDS (Scanning Electron Microscopy/EnergyDispersive X-ray Spectroscopy). FTIR was used to make a comparative study of referencesubstances: charcoal, soot, burnt spruce needles and raw antler of modern elk. The blackcolour in the grooves of the Rusinowo find is caused by the presence of a residue of ashfrom a hearth, or hearths, presumably in a natural mixture with fulvic acids. To a minorextent, the black colour may be attributed to the presence of a Fe-S phase. No evidencewas found to validate a deliberate origin of the staining.





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