Journal article Open Access

IDENTIFICATION OF COBALT-COLOURED EGYPTIAN GLASS OBJECTS BY LA-ICP-MS: A CASE STUDY FROM THE 18TH DYNASTY WORKSHOPS AT AMARNA, EGYPT

Hodgkinson, Anna K.; Frick, Daniel A.

This paper presents the elemental composition of a representative group of glass-working and -production samples from Amarna in the collection of the Ägyptisches Museum und Papyrussammlung Berlin, obtained by quantitative laser ablation inductively coupled plasma mass spectrometry (LA-ICP-MS). These analyses were carried out to verify the results from a set of on site analyses of glass objects at Amarna, carried out by pXRF. The main research question of this study was whether the various sources of Co-ore can be identified using transition metal data from pXRF analysis only. The 40 samples from the Berlin collection were confirmed as belonging to the group of Type A, Co- and Co-Cu coloured glass objects, produced in the Egyptian 18th dynasty, coloured with cobalt-containing ores originating from the western desert in Egypt (close to the Dakhla and Kharga Oases). The element composition revealed correlations between Co and Al, Mn, Fe, Ni and the REEs. However, the major, minor and trace element composition revealed no further distinction between the various workshops in the collection, indicating that similar recipes and raw materials were used in the workshops at Amarna. Thus, quantitative pXRF using Co, Ni, Mn and Zn concentrations alone, such as by pXRF, can be used as an indicative instrument for provenancing cobalt in glass objects, directly on site of objects that cannot be removed from a site or a museum collection.

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