Micro-stratigraphical investigation on corrosion layers in ancient Bronze artefacts by scanning electron microscopy energy dispersive spectrometry and optical microscopy

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Abstract

Background: Archaeological metallic artefacts buried in soils deteriorate by means of various environmental as well as internal factors and mechanisms over time such as change in composition and microstructure of metal and corrosive factors due to long-term burial environment. Corrosion in metals occurs in different morphologies and results in different types of corrosion products based on soil composition. Identification of corrosion mechanisms and morphology in archaeological metals can help conservators to characterize deterioration occurred in metals and make decisions to protect artefacts about preventing further deterioration. In archaeological bronzes, different layers may form on the surface of artefacts and their composition, depth and shape depends on factors noted above.Results: In this paper, results of investigation carried out on ancient bronzes discovered from Haft Tappeh archaeological site, southwestern Iran, are presented. The ancient bronze samples are dated to the Middle Elamite period about 14th century BC. Some of the Haft Tappeh bronze artefacts corroded completely and a multilayer structure has formed. To study the stratigraphy of corrosion layers and their composition, some bronze artefacts have been analyzed using SEM-EDS (Scanning Electron Microscopy Energy Dispersive Spectrometry) and Optical Microscopy analyses. The results show difference between the amount of Cu and Sn in layers that may follow from copper leaching from inner layers and formation of copper trihydroxychlorides because of bronze disease.Conclusions: Based on the results, it can be concluded that SEM-EDS analysis and Microscopy observations can help to characterize compositional difference between corrosion layers in the micro scale as well as corrosion mechanisms occurring in archaeological metal artefacts. © 2013 Oudbashi et al.; licensee Chemistry Central Ltd.

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Oudbashi, O., Emami, S. M., Ahmadi, H., & Davami, P. (2013). Micro-stratigraphical investigation on corrosion layers in ancient Bronze artefacts by scanning electron microscopy energy dispersive spectrometry and optical microscopy. Heritage Science, 1(1). https://doi.org/10.1186/2050-7445-1-21

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