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First users of PUMA beamline

by Fanny Dubray - published on , updated on

On February 13, 2019, Alessandra Gianoncelli (TwinMic Beamline at Elettra Sincrotrone, Trieste, Italy) and Simona Raneri (University of Pisa, Department of Earth Sciences, Italy) performed the first user experiment on the PUMA line (Photons Used for Ancient Materials).

The PUMA beamline, which is optimised for the study of Ancient Materials, has opened its first experimental station. It is dedicated to 2D imaging with a micro-focused hard X-ray beam. The analytical techniques proposed are X-ray fluorescence spectroscopy (XRF), X-ray absorption Near-Edge structure (XANES) and X-ray powder diffraction (XRD). The PUMA line is operated by Sebastian Schoeder,Tulin Okbinoglu and Angélique Rouquié. The construction of the line was financed by the Île-de-France region and the Ministry of Research.

A. Gianoncelli and S. Raneri used XRF and XANES at the Iron K-edge and at 18 keV, with a 3 µm beam spot to study two sets of samples, obtained thanks to a collaboration with Prof. G.Barone and Prof. P. Mazzoleni from the University of Catania (Italy).

The first samples are black gloss wares coming from the Gela Museum in Sicily. Mapping of their chemical composition will provide new clues as to the manufacturing technique and origin of these objects produced in the 6th-5th century BC between Greece and the colonies in southern Italy.

The second set of samples consists of polychrome terracottas from the same period, discovered in the Palatine and the Roman Forum and preserved in the Archaeological Park of the Colosseum in Rome. The data collected may allow scientists to attribute these artifacts to Etruscan, Greek or Sicilian Greek painters. Hypotheses concerning the possible circulation of goods, craftsmen and technological processes in central Italy may also emerge.