UCLA/Getty Conservation Program

A graduate conservation training program focusing on the conservation of archaeological and ethnographic materials

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ISA 2014

Here at the UCLA/Getty Program, we’re gearing up for the International Symposium on Archaeometry (ISA), taking place May 19-23. This year, the ISA is being held at both the Getty Villa and at UCLA, organized by UCLA/Getty Program chair Dr. Ioanna Kakoulli and Dr. Marc Walton, senior scientist at NU-ACCESS (and formerly a scientist at the Getty Conservation Institute). Our program is well represented at the conference, with several posters and paper presentations and faculty chairing various sessions.

If you’re attending the conference, make sure to check out the presentations below by the UCLA/Getty crew. You can find more information on the conference here and the schedule and abstracts here. We’ll be posting pictures on our Facebook page so make sure to check out the album ISA 2014 throughout the week. We’ll also be posting on our twitter account @UCLAGettyCons using the hashtag #isa2014.

Monday, May 19 2:30-4:30, Getty Villa

Provenance Study of Obsidian Artifacts from the Fowler Museum Collection (UCLA) using a Handheld X-ray Fluorescence Spectrometer
Kristine Martirosyan-Olshansky1, Christian Fischer1 and Wendy Teeter2

1. Cotsen Institute of Archaeology, UCLA, Los Angeles
2. Fowler Museum, UCLA, Los Angeles

Over the past few decades, research on geochemical characterization of obsidian archaeological artifacts and geological samples from the greater American Southwest has been extensive, primarily for provenance purposes (Shackley, 1995; Ambroz et al 2001; Eerkens and Rosenthal, 2004; Ericson et al., 2004; Eerkens et al., 2008). Using different analytical techniques, such as neutron activation analysis (NAA), inductively coupled plasma mass spectrometry (ICP-MS), and laboratory and handheld X-ray fluorescence (labXRF and pXRF), the elemental fingerprint of obsidian artifacts can be established and correlated to known geological sources. This paper presents preliminary results for the geochemical characterization of an obsidian assemblage from the Fowler Museum collections consisting of one hundred fifty-six obsidian samples from various sites in California. The assemblage was analyzed with a Bruker handheld XRF to determine the number of groups with different geochemical signatures. Data were compared to \geological and reference samples from known California, Arizona, and Eastern Oregon sources in an attempt to assign individual groups to specific obsidian sources. Using elements bivariate plots and multivariate statistics, and beside several outliers, six distinct obsidian groups were identified based primarily on the concentrations of iron (Fe) and some trace elements, in particular strontium (Sr), yttrium (Y), zirconium (Zr) and Niobium (Nb). Although obsidian source attribution remains challenging for such a diverse assemblage, one artifact group could be confidently assigned to the Obsidian Butte source in San Diego County while a large number of samples from obsidian-rich northern California sites cluster well with sources located within the Coso volcanic mountain range in central-eastern California. Finally, the results for these groups are discussed in terms of artifacts spatial and temporal distribution which provide useful insight on procurement patterns for this material in California.

Ambroz, J.A., Glascock, M.D. and Skinner, C.E., 2001. Chemical Differentiation of Obsidian within the Glass Buttes Complex,
Oregon. Journal of Archaeological Science, 28, 741-746.
Eerkens, J.W. and Rosenthal, J.S., 2004. Are obsidian subsources meaningful units of analysis?: temporal and spatial patterning of subsources in the
Coso Volcanic Field, southwestern California. Journal of Archaeological Science, 31, 21-29.
Eerkens, J.W., Spurling, A.M. and Gras, M.A., 2008. Measuring prehistoric mobility strategies based on obsidian geochemical and technological
signatures in the Owens Valley, California. Journal of Archaeological Science. 35, 668-680.
Ericson, J. E. and Glascock, M.D., 2004. Subsource Characterization: Obsidian Utilization of Subsoures of the Coso Volcanic Field, Coso Junction,
California, USA. Geoarchaeology: An International Journal., 19, 8, 779-805.
Shackley S.M., 1995. Sources of Archaeological Obsidian in the Greater American Southwest: An Update and Quantitative Analysis. American
, 60, 3, 531-551.

The Technology of Late Bronze Age/Early Iron Age Glass in the Mediterranean: Analytical Studies of Vitreous Materials from Lofkënd
Vanessa Muros,1,2 Nikolaos Zacharias2 and John K. Papadopoulos,3

1. UCLA/Getty Conservation Program, Los Angeles, CA, USA.
2. Dept. of History, Archaeology and Cultural Resources Management, Univ. of Peloponnese, Kalamata, Greece.
3. Cotsen Institute of Archaeology, UCLA, Los Angeles, CA, USA.

The application of archaeometric techniques to the study of archaeological glass has been critical to identifying how and where this material was manufactured. Despite the research that has been conducted to date, questions still remain about the raw materials used and the location of primary glass production centers, especially during the Late Bronze Age and Early Iron Age. Investigations of glass from sites such as Frattesina in Italy and Elateia in Greece have revealed new technological approaches that appear during this time period and possibly the identification of new regions where glass was produced. This challenges the idea that glass in the Mediterranean was imported from either Egypt or the Near East. Only with additional investigations of ancient glass from this region and time period can technology and production be better understood. This paper aims to add to the current body of knowledge of LBA/EIA glass production by presenting the study of vitreous materials from the tumulus of Lofkënd in southwestern Albania. In this ongoing project, several analytical techniques (XRF, SEM-EDS, ICPMS, SIMS) were employed to identify the technology of a group of 12th-9thc. BC glass and faience beads. The data obtained on trace elements and stable isotopes will allow for the method of manufacture of these materials from Lofkënd to be identified and to determine where the glass and faience was made. The results will provide crucial information to our understanding of ancient technology, trade, and glass manufacture during the transition from the Bronze to the Iron Age, and the relation of Lofkënd to production centers in the Mediterranean, Egypt and the Near East

Wednesday, May 21 2:30-4:30 California NanoSystems Institute (CNSI), UCLA

Application of VPSEM-µRS for SERS analysis of archaeological textiles
Diana C. Rambaldi1, Sergey V. Prikhodko2, Vanessa Muros3, Elizabeth Burr3, and Ioanna Kakoulli2,3

1. Conservation Center, Los Angeles County Museum of Art, 5905 Wilshire Blvd, Los Angeles, CA 90036, United States.
2. Department of Materials Science and Engineering, University of California, Los Angeles, 410 Westwood Plaza, 3111 Engineering V, Los Angeles, CA 90095-1595, United States.
3. UCLA/Getty Conservation Program, Cotsen Institute of Archaeology, University of California, Los Angeles, 308 Charles E. Young Drive North A210 Fowler Building/Box 951510, Los Angeles, CA 90095-1510, United States.

The site of Huaca Malena on the coast of southern Peru is a platform and cemetery of the Wari state from the Middle Horizon period (AD 700 -1100). The cemetery has yielded mummy textiles, some of which are typical for the region, and others with motif traditions indicative of the Sierra Andes of southeast Peru. It is unclear if this indicates migration, exchange, or transmission of aesthetics. Analytical methods for the identification of organic colorants on archaeological textiles can offer a way to retrieve information from these delicate artifacts. Among other analytical methodologies, Surface-Enhanced Raman Spectroscopy (SERS), achieving single molecule detection, has recently emerged as a powerful technique for the identification of colorants from size-limited and irreplaceable archaeological materials1. For direct, extractionless SERS analysis of colorants on textiles, silver nanoparticles (AgNPs) are deposited on a single fiber and SER spectra are acquired using a micro-Raman spectrometer (μRS)2. Since the deposition of AgNPs is a crucial step to generate the SER effect, Scanning Electron Microscopy (SEM) appears to be an ideal tool to evaluate the AgNP coverage and locate suitable areas for successful and reproducible analysis.

In this study, direct, extractionless SER analysis of organic colorants on single fibers was performed for the first time using a μRS interfaced with a variable pressure SEM (VPSEM). An alpaca fiber dyed with Peruvian cochineal and a wool fiber dyed with Indian madder were treated with a silver colloid and introduced in the SEM chamber. The high resolution imaging of SEM was used to select areas showing diverse deposition of AgNPs. SERS analyses were then directly carried out in these areas without moving the sample. The analysis of areas with a thick layer of nanoparticles or without nanoparticles resulted in low signal to noise ratio or no signal at all. Areas with a thin layer of deposited nanoparticles led to optimal reproducible spectra characteristic of the dye molecules. The results clearly illustrated the potential of this quasi non-destructive approach for the identification of different organic colorants while information can also be obtained on the AgNP coverage as well as the morphology of the fibers. This methodology will be applied to study collections of Peruvian archaeological textiles including that from the site of Huaca Malena. The application of VPSEM-µRS, coupled with energy-dispersive spectroscopy (EDS), will also provide a unique opportunity to study a variety of other archaeological materials including pigments, glazes, and glasses.

1. Pozzi, F., Poldi, G. De Luca, E., Guglielmi, V. Multi-technique characterization of dyes in ancient Kaitag textiles from Caucasus. Archaeol Anthropol Sci 2012, 4:185–197
2. Brosseau CL, Casadio F, Van Duyne RP: Revealing the invisible: using surface-enhanced Raman spectroscopy to identify minute remnants of color in Winslow Homer’s colorless skies. J Raman Spectrosc 2011, 42:1305–1310.

Thursday, May 22 2:30-4:30 California NanoSystems Institute (CNSI), UCLA

Non-invasive Analysis of Chinese Blue-and-white Porcelain from Indonesia and the Philippines
Ellen Hsieh1 and Christian Fischer1

1. Cotsen Institute of Archaeology, UCLA, Los Angeles, USA.

Blue-and-white porcelain has been a symbol of Chinese material culture for the last seven centuries and has spread all over the world with high impact on other cultures. Export blue-and-white porcelain was usually manufactured in common kilns as opposed to the ware from official kilns reserved for imperial court use, rewards and diplomacy purposes. During the 16th-17th century, Jingdezhen and Zhangzhou were the two main production
centers from which blue-and-white was exported followingnewly established global trading networks. The distinction between products from these two centers is of prime importance for archaeological research because it relates to topics such as trade routes, value or class. However while the provenance of complete porcelain pieces can often be easily identified from stylistic and technology-related features, attribution of small sherds to specific production sites remains a challenging task that requires a more in-depth analysis of the material. During the last decades, most scientific studies have focused on ware from official kilns (Yu and Miao, 1996; Wu et al., 2000; Wen et al., 2007) and only recently, owing to archaeological excavations of common kilns at both sites, useful reference data became available (Wu, et al., 2007; Ma, et al., 2012) providing solid support for provenance studies (Dias, et al., 2013). In the research presented here, blue-and-white porcelain sherds from Banten (Indonesia) and Visayan (Philippines) were analyzed with handheld XRF (p-XRF) and UV/Vis/NIR spectroscopy to acquire compositional data of the ceramic body, glaze and blue pigment and to evaluate the potential of these non-invasive and portable techniques at discriminating different source materials and production sites. Beside the expected use of Mn-rich cobalt ores for the blue pigment, p-XRF results have indicated that products from Jingdezhen and Zhangzhou common kilns can be successfully differentiated based primarily on the concentrations of some key trace elements such as Zr, Ti and Sr, most likely correlated to the composition of local raw material sources. The approach appears therefore promising and could offer a fast and cost-effective way for the characterization and sourcing of export blue and white porcelain sherds, especially for field analysis.

DIAS, I.M., PRUDÊNCIO, I.M., PINTO DE MATOS, M.A. and RODRIGUES L.A., 2013. Tracing the origin of blue and white Chinese porcelain ordered for the Portuguese market during the Ming dynasty using INAA. Journal of Archaeological Science 40, 3046-3057.
MA, H., ZHU, J., HENDERSON, J. and LI, N., 2012. Provenance of Zhangzhou export blue-and-white and its clay source. Journal of Archaeological Science 39, 1218-1226.
WEN, R., WANG, C.S., MAO, Z.W., HUANG, Y.Y. and POLLARD, A.M., 2007. The chemical composition of blue pigment on Chinese blue-and-white porcelain of the Yuan and Ming dynasties (AD 1271-1644). Archaeometry 49, 1, 101-115.
WU, J., LEUNG, P.L., Li, J.Z., STOKES, M.J. and LI, M.T.W., 2000. EDXRF studies on blue and white Chinese Jingdezhen porcelain samples from the Yuan, Ming and Qing dynasties. X-ray Spectrometry 29, 239–244.

A Preliminary Study on a Bronze Incense Burner Dated to the Eastern Jin Dynasty (317-420A.D.) in Nanjing City, China
Wang Xiaoqi1, Chen Dahai2, Wang Hong2 and Huang Xiaojuan3

1. Division of Archaeology, Department of History, Nanjing University, Nanjing, China.
2. Division of Archaeology, Nanjing Municipal Museum, Nanjing, China.
3. Conservation Lab, Archaeological Institute of Shaanxi Province, Xi’an, China.

One of the significantly archaeological discoveries in the year of 2011 in Nanjing city, China, was a grand brick chambered tomb dated to 317-420A.D., associated with many spectacular findings, such as golden ornaments, lacquer vessels, natural beeswax, celadon containers, alchemical pills, as well as other metal objects. In terms of historical documentation, the tomb location belonged to a cemetery of a high rank honorable family, mostly presumed to be well-known alchemical pioneers and active practitioners during the Eastern Jin Dynasty (317-420A.D.), a flourishing period of Taoism in ancient China. Aided by local archaeologists, a metal incense burner composed of a bird-formed lid, a body decorated with birds and human production shaped figurines and a plain basin-patterned base with an auspicious animal lying in the center, was chosen to be firstly explored by scientific methods. The whole vessel was well preserved and nearly intact, except base edge with a small-sized cut. Therefore, a tiny piece along the cut was sampled and analyzed by using x-ray fluorescence, μ x-ray fluorescence, metallographic microscopy, as well as scanning electron microscopy coupled with EDS to determine the composition, structure and manufacturing technology.

The semi-quantitative x-ray fluorescence analysis showed the sample mainly had copper, silica, tin, lead, iron and aluminum, with potassium, chlorine, calcium and phosphorus in minor. After detection by using μ x-ray fluorescence on a fresh section, map scanning revealed copper was mostly rich in the whole body, with minor evenly distributed tin and dottedly distributed lead, whereas other elements including silica, aluminum, potassium, chlorine, calcium and phosphorus were mainly found along the surface, which were attributed to the contaminants from the burial soils, and iron probably due to an adjacent iron ink slab. The metallographic observation unveiled a typical dendritic casting microstructure, but dendritic segregation was unobvious because of low tin content. The results conducted by scanning electron microscopy equipped with EDS were in consistent with metallographic observation and μ x-ray fluorescence result, especially EDS analysis indicated tin content was averagely over 4%, whereas lead was 1% to 2%. The experiments revealed the burner base was mainly made of copper by casting technology; tin was purposely added in; lead was probably spontaneously brought in from either copper ores or remelting process. It was different from local archaeologist’s original opinion, which was inclined to be an artifact made of pure copper, referenced from a historical record written by contemporaneous alchemists, one of whom was mostly presumed to be the potential tomb owner. However, deep investigation needed to be performed on diverse parts of the burner together with other excavated artifacts in order to seek more powerful evidence to provide a reasonable answer.

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How do you mount several tiny samples together?…..Very carefully!

We are all aware of how difficult it is to be able to take a sample from an artifact (both permission-wise and logistically) and when we need to, more often than not, the samples we take are extremely small.  Once we have our precious sample, we try to use as many examination and analytical techniques we can that are non-destructive to get the greatest amount of information from that one sample.  We may reach the point, however, where we need to use an analytical technique that may require the sample to be mounted, cut up or consumed, and we need to find ways to have the samples extend as far as possible through all the stages of investigation.

In our lab, we’ve been working on several projects (focusing on Egyptian blue pigments, as well as archaeological glass from the Mediterranean and China) that require taking very small samples from archaeological objects. Most of us are at the stage in our research that require the samples to be mounted in epoxy and polished for various types of instrumental analysis.  Because we can only take very small samples (about a few millimeters in size) and we need to use several techniques (SEM-EDS, EPMA, SIMS, Raman), we’ve been trying to figure out the best way to prepare our samples so that they can be used for all the techniques that will be applied.   Since the analytical methods we want to use will all work on polished samples mounted in resin blocks, we decided to try and mount the samples this way. In order to make it easier and faster to analyze several mounted samples, we decided to place several of our samples in the same resin block.  Arranging the samples all in one mount, documenting them in a way so you know which sample is which and embedding and polishing them successfully is challenging enough. When you are mounting 10-16 samples, about a few mm wide, in a 1 inch diameter sample holder, it’s even more difficult!

Before you start, it’s good to have all the supplies you need out  at your work area, along with your samples. Using a binocular microscope is key to mounting such small samples. The materials/supplies we had for mounting our samples were: the sample holder (we embedded our samples in 1 inch diameter disc of epoxy resin and used a Teflon ring -cut from a longer Teflon tube) as our sample holder, tweezers, double-sided tape (at least 1 inch wide) , Mylar (2-3 mil polyester film),  a pen and small, hard portable, surface for mounting (we used a small tile or piece of glass). Steady hands of course are essential.  No sneezing is allowed, and holding your breath for a bit  may also be helpful when dealing with such small samples.  Of course don’t forget to eventually breathe-just not on your samples!.


Once we had our supplies and samples at the microscope, we did the following:

  1. We took our hard portable surface (in this case a small tile) and attached a piece of Mylar to the top of the tile using double sided tape.  The Mylar will act as a barrier and prevent the epoxy we use for mounting from adhering to the tile (if not it will be impossible to remove the mounted samples from the surface of the tile).
  2. In the center of the Mylar covered tile, we placed 2 pieces of double sided tape, making sure the taped area was larger than 1 inch in diameter.  The tape will be used to hold the samples (and then the Teflon ring) in place during mounting.
  3. We took the Teflon ring and placed it over the two pieces of tape and drew a line to mark the interior diameter.  This would help guide us in placing our samples on the tape, making sure they are positioned in the center of the ring.


Now it’s time to take your samples and place them on the double sided tape.  Since we’re going to mount several samples, we placed our in rows, and tried to position them so they would fall within the center of the Teflon ring when mounted.  We marked the top of the Mylar to indicate orientation.  We also took notes and made a drawing to map where we were positioning the samples. Because some of the analysis we will be conducting will require quantitative analysis and the use of standards, we mounted small samples taken from a set of Corning Museum glass standards (A-D) we had in the lab along side our archaeological samples.


Once we placed all our samples on the tape, we positioned the Teflon ring around them, on the guide lines we drew earlier.  Because the ring is made of Teflon, we don’t need to add any release agent because theepoxy resin won’t stick to it.


Now we’re ready to mix up and pour in the epoxy resin to embed the samples.  We use Struer’s Epofix epoxy resin for mounting.

Even though the Teflon ring is well adhered to the double sided tape, there is the possibility that some of the resin might leak out from the bottom edge of the ring.  One way to avoid this is to seal the bottom edge of the Teflon ring.

A couple things we’ve tried are:

  • putting tape along the bottom exterior edge of the Teflon ring  (in the image above we used blue masking tape)
  • putting plasticine or modeling clay along the bottom edge
  • or sealing the exterior bottom edge with latex (This is the one that worked best for me.  I brushed Latex #74 molding compound from Douglas and Sturgess around the bottom edge.  Once the latex was set, I mixed together the epoxy resin and poured it into the ring and….no leaks!)

When embedding our samples in resin, we like to put them in a vacuum chamber after pouring in the epoxy to remove any air from the resin and the pores of our samples.  This will ensure the samples are completely impregnated with epoxy.  This is particularly important with porous samples, such as some of the very weathered glass samples I was going to analyze.

 glass-sample-vacuum   glass-sample-vacuum2

After the epoxy cures, the pressure is released from the vacuum and the tile/ring/mounted samples removed.


The Teflon ring can now be lifted off the Mylar and the mounted samples removed from the ring.  The final step is to polish the samples.We start off with very fine grit sand paper (ranging from 600-1200 grit) and finish with Buehler MetaDi Diamond polishing suspension, first with 6 micron suspension followed by polishing with the 1 micron suspension as the final step. We want to make sure that the samples are exposed and that there are no scratches on the surface.


Once the mounted samples are polished, they are ready to be analyzed.

glass-sample-polished lofkend-samples

Having to mount numerous small samples together is tricky, but having all these samples in the same mount, plus the standards, will certainly save time during analysis!

Vanessa Muros (Conservation Specialist)

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UCLA/Getty Program Welcomes Visiting Scholar Dr. Xiaoqi Wang

The UCLA/Getty Program is pleased to welcome visiting scholar Dr. Xiaoqi Wang for the 2013-14 academic year. Dr. Wang received her Ph.D. at the University of Science and Technology of China in conservation science and archaeometry (2005). Her dissertation research focused on the conservation of ancient shipwrecks and waterlogged materials with work undertaken in the conservation lab of the Romano-Germanic Central Museum, Mainz, Germany. Xiaoqi was a postdoctoral fellow (2006-2012) at Nanjing University in geophysics performing archaeometric research on Chinese archaeological glass beads and pigments dating between 220B.C.-600A.D. She serves as the Research Fellow in Department of Archaeology at Nanjing University, where she has also been teaching archaeology undergraduate and graduate students about archaeometry and conservation science since 2005. She was a visiting scholar at the University of Vienna, Austria (2001) and the Romano-Germanic Central Museum (2004-2005), made possible with funding from the University of Vienna and Romano-Germanic Central Museum respectively

During her time here, Dr. Wang will be working with UCLA/Getty Program chair Dr. Ioanna Kakoulli, as well as other colleagues in the UCLA/Getty Conservation Program and the Cotsen Institute of Archaeology. She will continue her research on beads and pigments focusing on the use of LA-ICP-MS, lead isotopic analysis and microscopy for their analysis. She is also focusing on ancient Chinese scroll paintings and hopes to connect with conservators, scientists and scholars on the identification of deterioration issues and solutions for preserving the paintings.


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UCLA/Getty Program takes on the SAA’s (and Honolulu)

This spring students, staff and faculty of the UCLA/Getty Conservation Program will be attending the Society for American Archaeology’s Annual Meeting (April 3-7, in Honolulu, HI) and representing the field of archaeological conservation. Faculty member and chair, Dr. Ioanna Kakoulli, and I have co-organized a symposium titled Archaeometric Methods, Archaeological Materials & Ancient Technologies which takes place on Sat. April 6th and is sponsored by the Society for Archaeological Sciences.

The session brings together professionals in the field of archaeology and conservation to present their research on the use of instrumental analysis for the characterization of ancient and historic materials. The aim is to create a discussion of the advantages and limitations of different techniques based both on hardware design and application methodology and the pitfalls in the acquisition and interpretation of results. The papers will touch on the methods of acquiring the data and how the data is treated in light of the complexities posed by the heterogeneous nature of archaeological materials and the alterations that they undergo during burial. There will be a focus on how condition/preservation issues, the heterogeneity of the artifacts and the difficultly of analyzing artifacts that cannot be sampled affect the techniques that can be used, the choice of analytical methodology and the interpretation of results. By addressing these limitations, and especially by having conservators speak on the impact of condition and deterioration on the overall composition and stability of archaeological materials, a new perspective can be added to the discussion of instrumental analysis that would be beneficial to any researcher working on ancient materials.

In addition to the research the presenters will introduce, the session will increase the presence of conservators, conservation scientists and conservation graduate students at this archaeological conference. The hope is it that it will introduce those not familiar with our field to conservation-related research, increasing the awareness of the archaeological community to the work conducted by conservators and their contribution to larger archaeological goals and research questions. This collaboration with and outreach to the archaeological community has been a focus of the UCLA/Getty Program and our hope is that this session will be an extension of that work and help bridge the gap that still exists between these two professions.

Not only are we happy about getting to spend some time in Honolulu, but we are excited to have two of our students presenting their research at the session. We have a few papers that will be given by emerging archaeological conservators giving them an opportunity to present their research at this early stage in their career. They’ll also have the opportunity to connect with archaeologists and other professionals which will help form collaborations in the future. As a result of this session, I hope these emerging conservators will wish to continue this kind of outreach during their conservation careers and work to further integrate conservation into the practice of archaeology.

If you are attending the SAA’s, make sure to come to our session to hear the exciting talks listed below (after the photo). Abstracts for the conference can be accessed here. Hope to see you in Honolulu!

beautiful beach in Hawaii (Not Honolulu or Oahu, but on the Big Island. Just wanted to set the mood)

A beautiful beach in Hawaii. It’s not Honolulu or Oahu, but the Big Island. It’s just in here to add context and because I’m sure Honolulu will be as beautiful.

Vanessa Muros
Conservation Specialist, UCLA/Getty Conservation Program


Archaeometric Methods, Archaeological Materials & Ancient Technologies

Empire Without A Voice: Phoenician Iron Metallurgy and Imperial Strategy at Carthage
Brett Kaufman, PhD candidate, Cotsen Institute of Archaeology, UCLA

Analyzing deteriorated glass using pXRF: A preliminary study of vitreous beads from the Late Bronze Age/Early Iron Age tumulus of Lofkënd in Albania
Vanessa Muros, Conservation Specialist, UCLA/Getty Conservation Program

Several Roads Lead to Chichén Itzá: Tracing the Fabrication Histories of Metals Deposited in the Cenote Sagrado
Bryan Cockrell, PhD candidate, Anthropology, UC Berkeley
José Luis Ruvalcaba Sil, Research Scientist, Instituto de Física, UNAM
Edith Ortiz Díaz, Researcher in Archaeology, Instituto de Investigaciones Antropológicas, UNAM

Improving the Diagnostic Capabilities of GC-C-IRMS Analyses of Organic Residues in Archaeological Pottery
Michael W. Gregg, and Greg F. Slater
School of Geography and Earth Sciences, McMaster University

Comparison between 3D Geometric Morphometric Analysis over Traditional Linear Methods in Lithic Assemblages; Tor Faraj, Jordan, a Middle Paleolithic Site as a Case Study
Colleen A Bell, Miriam Belmaker and Donald Henry, Dept. of Anthropology, The University of

Characterization of 5th C. B.C. Athenian Pottery Black Gloss Slips
Marc Walton and Karen Trentelman, Getty Conservation Institute
Jeffrey Maish and David Saunders, J. Paul Getty Museum
Brendan Foran3, Neil Ives3, and Miles Brodie, The Aerospace Corporation
Apurva Mehta, Stanford Synchrotron Radiation Laboratory

Lipid Analysis and Plant Residue Identification: New Perspectives
Cynthianne Debono Spiteri , Dept. of Archaeology, BioArCh, University of York & Max Planck
Institute for Evolutionary Anthropology
Amanda Henry, Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Anthropology
Oliver E. Craig, Dept. of Archaeology, BioArCh, University of York

Integrated Archaeometric Analysis of the Context and Contents of an Ulúa-style Marble Vase from the Palmarejo Valley, Northwest Honduras
E. Christian Wells, Ph.D., Department of Anthropology, University of South Florida

The Jaina-style Figurine Project: Portable Technologies, Advantages and Limitations
Christian Fischer, Dept. of Materials Science and Engineering and UCLA/Getty Conservation
Carinne Tzadik, MA student, UCLA/Getty Conservation Program
Ioanna Kakoulli, Dept. of Materials Science and Engineering and Chair,UCLA/Getty Conservation
Sandra L. Lopez Varela, Dept. of Anthropology, Universidad Autónoma del Estado de Morelos
Christian De Brer, Conservator, Fowler Museum at UCLA
Kim Richter, Research Specialist, Getty Research Institute

Sandstone raw materials from Eastern France: Evaluation of Non-Invasive Portable Technologies as Potential Tools for Characterization and Sourcing
Brittany Dolph, MA Student, UCLA/Getty Conservation Program
Christian Fischer, Dept. of Materials Science and Engineering and UCLA/Getty Conservation Program


Analyzing deteriorated glass using pXRF: A preliminary study of vitreous beads from the Late Bronze Age/Early Iron Age tumulus of Lofkënd in Albania
Vanessa Muros, Conservation Specialist, UCLA/Getty Conservation Program

The availability of portable analytical instrumentation, such as portable xray fluorescence spectroscopy (pXRF), has allowed for more archaeometric research to be conducted on archaeological materials in the field, where artifacts can be analyzed in situ. The application of this technique to the study of ancient materials has been advantageous in that many more artifacts can be analyzed non-destructively, without the need for sampling. Issues are often encountered, however, in the characterization of these objects due to their heterogeneity because of the materials used, method of manufacture or the alteration materials undergo during burial.

This paper will describe the characterization of a group of vitreous beads excavated from the Late Bronze Age/Early Iron Age tumulus (14th-9th c. BC) of Lofkënd in Albania. The beads, which exhibited varying degrees of deterioration and corrosion, were analyzed using pXRF in order to identify the raw materials used. The factors considered in the creation of the analytical methodology will be presented. The challenges encountered in the interpretation of the results, and the importance of understanding the deterioration processes of archaeological materials when studying ancient artifacts will be discussed.

The Jaina-style Figurine Project: Portable Technologies, Advantages and Limitations
Christian Fischer, Dept. of Materials Science and Engineering and UCLA/Getty Conservation
Carinne Tzadik, MA student, UCLA/Getty Conservation Program
Ioanna Kakoulli, Dept. of Materials Science and Engineering and Chair,UCLA/Getty Conservation
Sandra L. Lopez Varela, Dept. of Anthropology, Universidad Autónoma del Estado de Morelos
Christian De Brer, Conservator, Fowler Museum at UCLA
Kim Richter, Research Specialist, Getty Research Institute 

Of all sites in the Mexican state of Campeche on the Yucatán Peninsula’s Gulf coast, the islet of Jaina has been in the spotlight for many years, principally, due to the very fine clay figurines found in great numbers within burial sites. Compared to the archaeological/art historical analysis, the archaeometry of Jaina figurines has been less extensive. The Jaina style figurine project applies a multiscale and multianalytical approach based on noninvasive and non-destructive testing for the chemical fingerprinting of the figurines and to investigate the degree of variability in the chemistry and technology among the figurines relative to the analytical uncertainties. Here we present preliminary data obtained using non-invasive technology based on spectral imaging (SI), Xray fluorescence (XRF) spectroscopy and ultraviolet, visible, near infrared (UV/Vis/NIR) reflectance spectroscopy for the characterization of the clay body and blue paint decoration. The advantages and limitations of the non-invasive techniques employed will be discussed in the context of material heterogeneity and variability, geometry and stylistic features of the figurines.

Sandstone raw materials from Eastern France: Evaluation of Non-Invasive Portable Technologies as Potential Tools for Characterization and Sourcing
Brittany Dolph, MA Student, UCLA/Getty Conservation Program
Christian Fischer, Dept. of Materials Science and Engineering and UCLA/Getty Conservation Program

In the Alsace region of eastern France, sandstone is an important local resource which has been utilized by societies throughout time. Although earliest archaeological evidence of usage dates back to the Neolithic, it is mainly during the Gallo-Roman and Medieval periods that this sandstone was extensively quarried, and nowadays is still commercially exploited for building and conservation purposes. Primarily composed of quartz, feldspars,
and various types and amounts of micas and clay minerals, the sandstone types present variegated colors and belong to different levels of the Buntsandstein, a lithostratigraphic unit of lower Triassic age. This research explores the potential of X-ray fluorescence (XRF) and ultraviolet/visible/near infrared (UV/Vis/NIR) spectroscopy for the non-invasive characterization of different Buntsandstein sandstone lithotypes using portable instrumentation. The two complementary non-invasive techniques allow identification of both elemental and mineralogical compositions while providing a useful alternative for the analysis of archaeological artifacts and/or field investigations where sampling is not an option. Furthermore, they can be used to document current condition and possible alteration processes in order to identify decision-making criteria for conservation treatments. Preliminary results obtained on reference samples from modern quarries exploiting the Buntsandtein sandstone will be presented and discussed with particular focus on provenance and sourcing.

Prof. Ioanna Kakoulli featured in latest issue of “UCLA Engineer” magazine

Prof. Ioanna Kakoulli, who in addition to being a faculty member in the UCLA/Getty Conservation Program also has a joint teaching appointment in the Department of Materials Science and Engineering, is featured in the latest issue of UCLA Engineer magazine. The article highlights some of her past and recent research projects in addition to a discussion of the multi-disciplinary aspects of her work.

article Kakoulli "UCLA Engineer"