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May 10, 2012: Ancient Stone Sculptures: A Nexus between Archaeometry and the Geosciences

Posted on May 10, 2012 in Seminars

Speaker:
Christian Fischer
UCLA

Abstract:
Stone sculptures represent an important corpus of artifacts that have often survived the effects of time and their technical study provides the means for a better understanding of the social organization, religious beliefs and level of craftsmanship of ancient cultures. Beside style and iconography, the scientific analysis of the constitutive materials and their alterations is essential for the sourcing of raw materials and the conservation of the sculptures. Because of the very nature of the materials, their complexity and origin, as well as the methodology and analytical techniques used for their characterization, the scientific study of ancient stone sculptures illustrates perfectly the close and fascinating connections between archaeometry and the geosciences. By combining new portable technology and more traditional approaches, these relationships and the challenges posed by the analysis of archaeological stone materials will be discussed with examples from Cambodia and the Easter Island.