(Royal Society of Chemistry, 2016-03-14)
Popelka-Filcoff, Rachel Sarah; Lenehan, Claire Elizabeth; Lombi, Enzo; Donner, Erica; Howard, Daryl L; de Jonge, Martin D; Paterson, David; Walshe, Keryn; Pring, Allan
This manuscript presents the first non-destructive synchrotron micro-X-ray fluorescence study of natural mineral pigments on Aboriginal Australian objects. Our results demonstrate the advantage of XFM (X-ray fluorescence microscopy) of Aboriginal Australian objects for optimum sensitivity, elemental analysis, micron-resolution mapping of pigment areas and the method also has the advantage of being non-destructive to the cultural heritage objects. Estimates of pigment thickness can be calculated. In addition, based on the elemental maps of the pigments, further conclusions can be drawn on the composition and mixtures and uses of natural mineral pigments and whether the objects were made using traditional or modern methods and materials. This manuscript highlights the results of this first application of XFM to investigate complex mineral pigments used on Aboriginal Australian objects.