By identifying the origin of provincial Roman colour pigments, this project investigates the knowledge transfer, cultural exchange as well as political and economic transformations in Noricum. Archaeometry combined with research on polychromy can indicate how not only goods but also knowledge in early cultures were ›exchanged‹. This is relevant for the study of cultural heritage as well as for the understanding of ancient economic dynamics, technology and arts.

The topic of the project is to investigate whether ancient colour pigments are able to show evidence of different forms of exchange and socio-economic transformation. Can the scientifically analysed, archaeologically and historically contextualised information about origin of raw materials and processes of production of ancient colour pigments provide indications about preferred trade relations, technology and organisation of production as well as knowledge transfer and cultural exchange? To this end, the origin of the raw materials as well as the quality of ancient pigments (here in particular cinnabar-vermilion and Egyptian blue pigments) will be analysed in a multi-disciplinary approach. The trace elements and isotopic composition of the pigments will allow conclusions to be drawn concerning the raw materials employed, and their origin.

Noricum, a region that underwent large-scale transformations after becoming a Roman province, was an area with rich resources of raw materials and, therefore, the possibility to produce pigments locally. The material analysis of the cinnabar and Egyptian blue pigments from the Roman imperial period and Late Antiquity will be considered in this context of cultural, political and economic transformation in Noricum.