Condensed-Matter Physics & Materials Science Seminar

"Investigating the Internal Structure and Chemistry of a Dead Sea Scroll Parchment Fragment with Ink using Synchrotron X-ray Micro-beam Techniques"

Presented by Bridget Murphy, University of Kiel

Thursday, July 1, 2010, 1:30 pm — Small seminar room, Bldg 510

For the 2000 year old Dead Sea Scrolls parchment degradation and conservation are key issues. Since the find, the scrolls have rapidly become more brittle and difficult to read. However, the mechanism of the degradation processes is still not understood. Using complementary synchrotron-based X-ray micro-beam techniques ancient parchment is compared with modern. Micro X-ray fluorescence and infra-red spectroscopy show that the tanning or liming procedure provides an effective protective layer for the scrolls and that it is likely that the ink and binder in turn act as a fixer for the protective Ca layer. Synchrotron-based computed micro-tomography visualisation of ancient fragments similarly indicates that delamination originates in the centre of the parchment and not at the outside as originally expected. In the degraded region a strong signal from the protein amide 1 band observed with infra-red spectroscopy showing that despite the disentanglement the collagen fibre matrix is well preserved.

Hosted by: Ben Ocko

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