The preservation status of some Egyptian embalmed heads stored in the Museum of Anthropology and Ethnography of the University of Turin has been investigated by means of FT-IR absorption spectroscopy and microreflectance. Such non-destructive techniques are in fact suitable to study the biochemical composition and the degradation level of the remains. Minute fragments of skin from seven embalmed heads and from one naturally mummified (pre-Dynastic period) have been investigated by IR absorption measurements in the 250-4000 cm-1 wave number range. To measure the absorption spectra, pellets were prepared by mixing ~1.0-1.5 mg of sample with anhydrous KBr (100 mg). The IR spectra of the ancient skin specimens were compared with the spectrum of modern skin sample. The sample preservation status was evaluated on the base of position and shape of the characteristic protein bands (Amide A, B, I, II, and III) and lipids (CH, and CH, vibrational modes). Some samples were in a quite good preservation status whereas others displayed a rather high protein deterioration, as evidenced by the deformation of Amide 1 and II features: the preservation degree grows as the depth of the layers of the collected skin increases. One of them showed a very high degradation status testified by the presence of some adipocere characteristic absorption bands. The pre-Dynastic sample seemed to be the best preserved. The occurrence in the spectra of some features not related to the biological nature of the samples has been attributed to embalming chemicals and investigated by means of IR microscopy, with the aim to identify the biochemical components in each region of such heterogeneous samples.

Ft-Ir Spectroscopy and MicroSpectroscopy of Ancient Egyptian Embalmed Heads fron the Museum of Anthropology and Ethnography of the University of Turin / M.G. BRIDELLI; A. DELL'ANNA; C. STANI; A. BARALDI; R.BOANO; S. DE IASIO. - In: JOURNAL OF BIOLOGICAL RESEARCH. - ISSN 1826-8838. - LXXXV,1(2012), pp. 340-341. ((Intervento presentato al convegno 1961-2011: 50 years of Congresses: Past, Present and Future of Anthropology tenutosi a Turin, Italy nel 21-24 september 2011.

Ft-Ir Spectroscopy and MicroSpectroscopy of Ancient Egyptian Embalmed Heads fron the Museum of Anthropology and Ethnography of the University of Turin

BRIDELLI, Maria Grazia;STANI, CHIARAMARIA;BARALDI, Andrea;DE IASIO, Sergio
2012

Abstract

The preservation status of some Egyptian embalmed heads stored in the Museum of Anthropology and Ethnography of the University of Turin has been investigated by means of FT-IR absorption spectroscopy and microreflectance. Such non-destructive techniques are in fact suitable to study the biochemical composition and the degradation level of the remains. Minute fragments of skin from seven embalmed heads and from one naturally mummified (pre-Dynastic period) have been investigated by IR absorption measurements in the 250-4000 cm-1 wave number range. To measure the absorption spectra, pellets were prepared by mixing ~1.0-1.5 mg of sample with anhydrous KBr (100 mg). The IR spectra of the ancient skin specimens were compared with the spectrum of modern skin sample. The sample preservation status was evaluated on the base of position and shape of the characteristic protein bands (Amide A, B, I, II, and III) and lipids (CH, and CH, vibrational modes). Some samples were in a quite good preservation status whereas others displayed a rather high protein deterioration, as evidenced by the deformation of Amide 1 and II features: the preservation degree grows as the depth of the layers of the collected skin increases. One of them showed a very high degradation status testified by the presence of some adipocere characteristic absorption bands. The pre-Dynastic sample seemed to be the best preserved. The occurrence in the spectra of some features not related to the biological nature of the samples has been attributed to embalming chemicals and investigated by means of IR microscopy, with the aim to identify the biochemical components in each region of such heterogeneous samples.
Ft-Ir Spectroscopy and MicroSpectroscopy of Ancient Egyptian Embalmed Heads fron the Museum of Anthropology and Ethnography of the University of Turin / M.G. BRIDELLI; A. DELL'ANNA; C. STANI; A. BARALDI; R.BOANO; S. DE IASIO. - In: JOURNAL OF BIOLOGICAL RESEARCH. - ISSN 1826-8838. - LXXXV,1(2012), pp. 340-341. ((Intervento presentato al convegno 1961-2011: 50 years of Congresses: Past, Present and Future of Anthropology tenutosi a Turin, Italy nel 21-24 september 2011.
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Utilizza questo identificativo per citare o creare un link a questo documento: http://hdl.handle.net/11381/2603247
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