An impressive collection of chert artefacts from the Foeni Neolithic archaeological site (Timiş County, Banat region, Romania) is hosted by the Banat Museum in Timişoara. A representative set of seven specimens was non-destructively investigated using FT-Raman and ATR-FT-IR spectroscopy. The research was carried out for checking if these readily-available, non-destructive, fast, and cheap methods, which do not require preliminary sample preparation could provide significant information for characterizing the mineral composition of chert artefacts. Based on vibrational data, it was confirmed that the raw material was represented by microcrystalline quartz and moganite, with local concentrations of accessory minerals (calcite, dolomite, and clay minerals). In spite of their wide macroscopic heterogeneity (colour, transparency), based on single point FT-Raman measurements the chert artefacts could not be assigned to distinctive groups of raw silica materials, in order to provide specific arguments for provenance studies. However, the presence of specific accessory minerals (dolomite, illite) pointed to distinctive genetic conditions in the case of one lithic material. Sets of measurements (mapping) are required for statistically characterizing each artefact specimen. IR data were less significant, due to the rough surface texture of the specimens in contact with the ZnSe crystal of the ATR-FT-IR module. However, illite was identified based solely on its contribution to the IR spectrum. This pioneering study on chert artefacts from Romania based on optical spectroscopic methods shows that there are good premises for a systematic investigation of highly-valuable museum collections, in particular in terms of chert geology.
Cîntă Pînzaru, Simona; Pop, Dana; and Nemeth, Loredana
FT-Raman and FT-Infrared investigations of archaeological artefacts from Foeni Neolithic site (Banat, Romania),
Studia UBB Geologia
Available at: http://scholarcommons.usf.edu/geologia/vol53/iss1/art4