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COMPOSITION OF PIGMENTS ON HUMAN BONES FOUND IN EXCAVATIONS IN ARGENTINA STUDIED WITH MICRO-RAMAN SPECTROMETRY AND SCANNING ELECTRON MICROSCOPY

Keywords: Prehistory pigments , child bones , red and yellow ochre , micro-Raman , SEM/EDX

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Abstract:

Results on analysis of prehistoric pigments from excavationsand pigments on coloured child bones from NorthPatagonia, Argentina, are reported. To analyze their compositionwe used two micro-analytical techniques: micro-Raman spectrometr y (MRS) and scanning electronmicroscopy coupled with X-ray micro-analysis (SEM/EDX).Most investigated excavated pigments show red or yellowochres consistent with reddish or yellow minerals, such asα- and γ-goethite, haematite, er dite, haapalaite andjarosite. Raman spectra show also evidence of calciumoxalate monohydrate and calcite indicating lichen activity.Pigments covering human bones were identified ashematite and magnetite. This study allows us to infer thatpigments found in excavation were employed for burial ceremonies,even though distances between excavated pigmentarchaeological site and buried remains are quite far,more than 50 km in a straight line.

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