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Analysis of an archaeological linen cloth: The shroud of Arquata

TitoloAnalysis of an archaeological linen cloth: The shroud of Arquata
Tipo di pubblicazioneArticolo su Rivista peer-reviewed
Anno di Pubblicazione2020
AutoriBruni, Stefania, Cellamare C.M., Di Lazzaro P., Gessi Alessandro, Marghella Giuseppe, and Stante Loredana
RivistaRadiation Physics and Chemistry
Parole chiaveAluminum, article, Calcium, carbon 14, Chemical composition, Chemical compositions, Deterioration, Deterioration phenomena, Electron probe microanalysis, Energy dispersive spectroscopy, Energy dispersive X ray spectroscopy, Flax, Fungi, Intervention methods, Linen, Magnesium, Magnesium deposits, Mass Spectrometry, Morphological features, Morphology, Multi-disciplinary approach, Potassium, radiometric dating, Scanning electron microscopy, SEM/EDS, Shroud, silicon, Sodium, Sodium deposits, Surface characteristics, surface property

The linen cloth of the shroud of Arquata, a precious copy of the Shroud of Turin which dates back to 1653, was discovered in 1980 during the restoration works of the St. Francis church in Arquata del Tronto (Ascoli Piceno, Italy). Following the strong earthquake that hit central Italy in August 2016, the church was seriously damaged and it was therefore necessary to secure the shroud in the Cathedral of Ascoli Piceno. A multidisciplinary approach was required in order to evaluate the correct intervention methods that will be performed in the next future: although several investigation techniques were performed on the Arquata shroud, this paper focuses on the combination of two different techniques, optical microscopy and scanning electron microscopy coupled with energy dispersive spectroscopy microanalysis (SEM-EDS). Few samples of fibrils of the linen cloth of the Arquata shroud were analysed, achieving information about their morphology, the surface characteristics, the chemical composition and the possible deterioration phenomena. Light microscopic analyses showed some typical features of the single elementary flax fibre: lumen, dislocations and cross markings (X). SEM-EDS analysis also revealed interesting morphological features of the flax fibrils and the presence of encrustations on their surface, while the microanalysis preformed on the encrustations revealed the presence of calcium, silicon, magnesium, aluminium, sodium, and potassium, due to dust deposits. Moreover, the absence of biological attacks by microorganisms, parasites, moulds or fungi was highlighted. Finally, numerous defects of the surface that could characterise the linen cloth as antique were identified (cross cuts). These results suggested some actions useful for the conservation of the shroud, thus avoiding the use of more invasive methods which could impact the integrity of this precious object of veneration. © 2019 Elsevier Ltd


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Citation KeyBruni2020