The Whitaker Museum in Mozia (Sicily) conserves some funerary vessels coming from the isle’s archaic necropolis. Greek, Phoenician and Etruscan amphorae, a rich collection of jars of Birgi necropolis and also materials coming from Mozia Tofet and houses are exposed. Also jewels and weapons, amulets, scarabs and objects with original inscriptions engraved are found, as well as cosmetic and surgical instruments and fragments of inscribed stones coming from the Lilibaeum necropolis. From the collection of the Mozia Museum 77 samples from an interesting variety of containers including Unguentaria, Balsamaria, Alabastra, pyxes and shell valves were taken. The powders found in this cosmetic vessels have been analyzed by using FT-IR, micro-Raman, SERS (Surface Enhanced Raman Spectroscopy) and XRF techniques and the results are reported in this work. The analyses carried out have shown the presence of a variety of compounds.The white powders, that are the more frequent ones, present in lead pyxes, were identified by micro-Raman as made of Cerussite PbCO3 coming from a complete carbonatation of hydrocerussite PbCO3*Pb(OH)2. This is compatible with the high chronology of the samples: instead, hydrocerussite has been identified in Pompeii samples. Its presence, confirmed by XRF measurements, can be a clear indication of cosmetic use, since it is well known that its use in mural painting is not advisable. At the time, cerussa (lead white) was employed as a foundation. Other white powders are mainly composed of calcite or aragonite: the first could come from the soil where the ancient founds were situated, the second one could derive from ground sea shells. Among white samples, but not only, TiO2 is frequently attested. Its presence should amount to the cosmetic use of ground rocks or could come from the Mozia soil, for example if ophiolites are available in the region.Litharge, an oxide present in many containers, could derive from the alteration of cerussa, or from a proper addition, whether the yellow colour had a special meaning for the population of the site. As to the yellow pigments a yellow ochre based on goethite was found together with lepidocrocite.Among the red pigments, beloved by Phoenician people, there are cinnabar and hematite: the latter can be found as a natural compound or as a thermodegradation product from goethite. The presence of red lead chromates crocoite and phoenicocroite, two rare minerals, in a particularly precious unguentary is a singular discovery.In one sample a trace of blue material was seen, that gave the spectrum of indigotine, a dye extracted in the past from many plants and used for dyeing tissues and in cosmesis.Among black materials carbon is one of the most frequently attested, alongside MnO2 (pyrolusite) and magnetite.Three samples analyzed exhibited red organic compounds, all fluorescent with normal Raman technique. By appliying a SERS technique it has been possible to record spectra relative to these red dyes, but till now, with a comparison of reference materials, it was only possible to exclude the common red such as madder, purple and kermes. Other comparisons are outstanding.In comparison with other sites, such as Pompeii, Herculaneum and Oplontis, this cosmetic powders showed a wider range of materials.
Combined technique analysis on Punic cosmetic powders / Baraldi, Cecilia; Freguglia, Giada; Gamberini, Maria Cristina; Baraldi, Pietro. - STAMPA. - 1:(2011), pp. 103-104. (Intervento presentato al convegno 6th International Congress on the Application of Raman spectroscopy in Art and Archaeology tenutosi a Parma nel 5-8 September 2011).