Thesis title: Archaeometry of the book: revealing hidden texts and painting materials in historical manuscripts
The book manuscript is an artefact made by humans for collecting words, ideas, notions, and thoughts, expressed through the written or drawing language. It is also a material object resulting from craft practices and interactions with socio-cultural environments. When considered from an archaeological perspective, the materials of the manuscript (such as writing supports, inks, and pigments) are a source of unpublished historical knowledge. The need of in-depth characterisation of materials can be satisfied by modern archaeometry, i.e., the application of “hard” sciences (e.g., physics, mathematics, chemistry, engineering) to archaeology. The first part of the thesis concerns the analysis of materials in order to "restore" texts unreadable with naked eyes. In Chapter I the history of chemical procedures to the advent of modern non-invasive imaging technologies is reviewed. Chapters II and III contain two research based on the use of imaging technologies to unveil hidden texts in severely damaged ancient papyri. The second part of the thesis concerns the analyses of pigments in illuminated manuscripts. In Chapter IV a brief introduction to the topic is outlined. Chapter V reports the application of spectroscopic techniques as a tool to differentiate the pictorial methods of the artists in a fourteenth-century manuscript. Chapter VI contains an ongoing research collaboration between the Departments of Sapienza University of Rome and INFN (National Institute for Nuclear Physics), which aims at building a framework for infrared multispectral imaging of illuminated manuscripts.