Institute of Archaeology


Agnese Benzonelli

Validation of Analytical Methods for a Non-Invasive Characterization of Natural and Artificial Patinas

Agneze Benzonelli profile


Section: Archaeological Sciences



Validation of Analytical Methods for a Non-Invasive Characterization of Natural and Artificial Patinas

The research undertaken in the context of the PhD in Archaeological Sciences at UCL will address the study of the patina produced artificially through chemical treatment at the time of creation of the artefact. In particular, the research will treat the main types of intentional patination of archaeological interest, the "Black Bronze" alloys, not often investigated in the archaeometry field, present in Egypt (hsmn-km o hmty-km), Micene (kuwanna), Greece (kyanos) and in the Roman world (Corinhium aes). Alloys that seem to have a more recent origin are the Wu Tong in China and Shakudo in Japan (Irogane class).

Firstly, it will be broadened the knowledge of ancient patinated objects, responding to the several open questions. The second step of the research will be to validate an experimental protocol for the study of patinas, developing a multi-technique system to apply the X-ray fluorescence (XRF) technique to patinated objects, using a non-invasive system, to avoid any alteration of the physical integrity of the artefact, as demonstrated by recent analyses.

Finally, the methodology developed as a result of the previous points would be applied to artificially patinated museum objects, systematically identifying and classifying the "Black Bronzes" in selected Italian and British museums.


    • Research Master of Science Degree in "Scienza e tecnologia per i Beni Culturali" (Science and technology for cultural heritage), Universit√† degli Studi di Torino.2012
    • Bachelor's Research Degree in "Scienza e tecnologia Per i Beni Culturali" (Science and technology for cultural heritage), 2008
    Conference papers
    • Characterization of Ancient Japanese Sword Hand Guards through Time of Flight Neutron Diffraction and X-Ray Fluorescence.F. Grazzi, F. Civita, E. Barzagli, A. Agostino, A. Benzonelli, A. Scherillo, M. Zoppi. 3rd International Conference "Archaeometallurgy in Europe 2011". Bochum, Germany. 29 June - 1 July 2011
    • Analysis of ancient Japanese Tsubae by non-destructive techniques. A. Agostino, A. Benzonelli, F. Grazzi, A. Scherillo, E. Barzagli, M. Aceto, F. Civita.Intenational Conference "Technart 2011 - Non-destructive and microanalytical techniques in art and cultural heritage". Berlin, Germany. 26 - 29 April 2011
    • Studio non invasivo di Tsuba giapponesi con diffrattometria neutronica, XRF e SEM. (Non-invasive study on Japanese Tsuba through Neutron Diffraction and X-Ray Fluorescence and SEM). E. Barzagli, F. Grazzi, F. Civita, A. Scherillo, M. Zoppi, A. Agostino, A. Fossati, A. Benzonelli Meeting "Science for Contemporary Art". Ferrara, Italia. AIAR (Associazione Italiana di Archeometria, Scientific Methods for Cultural Heritage). 1 - 4 March 2011