Theme 1: The Material Record:
Current Trends and Future Directions
Regular Session: #723
»Egyptian Blue – From Literature to the Artifact to the Lab«
Keywords: ancient pigments and polychromy, production technology, material provenance
As the first artificial pigment, Egyptian blue has a millennia-long history of production, processing, working, and use. Throughout its impressive life history, this material has been used for making small objects, such as mosaic tesserae, for painting walls, for sculptures or architectural elements, and as a cosmetic.
Experimental archaeology, archaeometry, and research into ancient texts make it possible to understand more about how this first synthetic pigment was made, distributed, and used. The small chemical and physical variations revealed by these first two techniques, combined with a deep knowledge of the written record, is the key to constructing historical narratives about Egyptian blue.
Technological choices in ancient production practices and the provenance of resources are interesting meeting points for discussing cultural change and trade interactions in human history. An interdisciplinary dialogue between archaeologists and natural scientists is desirable to address challenges related to the analysis of archaeological materials.
Anthony Baragona (University of Applied Arts Vienna)
Alexandra Rodler-Rørbo (Austrian Archaeological Institute)
Hilary Becker (Binghamton University)
Giovanni Verri (Art Institute of Chicago)
Ariadne Kostomitsopoulou Marketou (Norwegian School of Theology, Religion, and Society)