Etruscan colors? : a multidisciplinary approach to three painted Etruscan sarcophagi
Wilson, Rachelle L.
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This multidisciplinary project focuses on the concepts of fakes, forgeries, altered objects, and authenticity. I applied noninvasive methodologies to study three Etruscan stone sarcophagi in the collections of the Field Museum of Natural History in Chicago. These techniques included detection of fluorescent pigments using ultraviolet light and portable x-ray fluorescence to determine the elemental composition of the pigments. Measurements suggest possible minerals used in original Etruscan pigments as well as subsequent non-Etruscan pigments and putty applied to these artifacts. Combined with the objects' history and iconographical analysis, this study provides a holistic and comprehensive analysis of these artifacts. Ultimately, this research reveals a new category of objects that are both authentic and modified, and they should not be eliminated from collections but serve to broaden our concept of authenticity and expand scholarly knowledge into new avenues.