Nanotechnology Now





Heifer International

Wikipedia Affiliate Button


DHgate

Home > Press > Deciphering the Elements of Iconic Pottery: What do cutting edge research into future space travel and the investigation of ancient ceramic pots have in common? More than you'd think.

Attic black-figure amphora (JPGM 88.AE.24, 530 - 520 B.C.) Herakles Attacking a Centaur.

Credit: J. Paul Getty Museum
Attic black-figure amphora (JPGM 88.AE.24, 530 - 520 B.C.) Herakles Attacking a Centaur.

Credit: J. Paul Getty Museum

Abstract:
Attic pottery is the iconic red and black figure-pottery produced in ancient Greece from the 6th to the 4th centuries B.C. Like the vessel shown above from the collection of the J. Paul Getty Museum, such pottery required immense precision to produce, and the means by which craftsman created these vessels is still not completely understood.

Deciphering the Elements of Iconic Pottery: What do cutting edge research into future space travel and the investigation of ancient ceramic pots have in common? More than you'd think.

Arlington, VA | Posted on March 28th, 2011

Now, thanks to funding from the National Science Foundation's (NSF)Chemistry and Materials Research in Cultural Heritage Science program, a collaborative group of California scientists from the Getty Conservation Institute (GCI), the Aerospace Corporation and the Department of Energy's SLAC National Accelerator Laboratory (SLAC) at Stanford is investigating the ancient technology used to create these works of art. From their study of the makeup of this iconic pottery, the researchers hope to further current conservation practice and future space travel.

What does the investigation of ancient ceramic pots have to do with cutting-edge research into future space travel? More than you'd think--it's hard to imagine a more dissimilar pairing, but the technology is actually quite transferrable.

Led by Karen Trentelman, a conservation scientist at the GCI, the grant team is working with conservators and curators from the J. Paul Getty Museum to attribute characteristic material "signatures" to known artists, which should aid the classification of unsigned works. The information will provide a deeper understanding of ancient pottery techniques and inform future conservation methods.

Of importance to aerospace industries, the effort will also create a deeper knowledge of iron-spinel chemistry, which is critical for advanced ceramics found in aerospace applications.

"Ceramic components are used all through space technology and space vehicles," says Mark Zurbuchen, a materials scientist with the Aerospace Corporation. "We need to continue to learn about interactions of components within these materials to help us better understand any real-world issues that may arise in actual space components."

One primary scientific technique the researchers are using is X-ray absorption near edge structure (XANES) spectroscopy, a tool for determining the iron oxidation states in the Attic pottery, which gives the pottery its iconic black and red coloring.

The researchers will also use X-ray absorption fine structure (EXAFS) analyses to provide information on the molecular structure of the iron minerals, and high resolution digital microscopy to study the surface of the works, among other analytical methods.

Aside from the technical aspects of the work, all of the scientists also are keenly interested in the sociological aspects of the work--that is, what impact did these potters have on their community?

For GCI scientist Marc Walton, who helped Trentelman develop the project, the effort is about understanding the society in which these pots were made.

"Using scientific methods, we want to look at the sociological context of ancient Greek workshops and potters and re-establish what we know about these workshops," said Walton.

At SLAC, which houses a high powered X-ray source driven by a particle accelerator called a synchrotron, staff scientist Apurva Mehta is working with the team to reveal nanoscale details across large regions of the pots. According to Mehta, the work will push the development of high-powered tools to probe many other materials, from biomaterials to the electrodes of lithium-ion batteries. His work will also help uncover answers to some important questions.

"There were several workshops making this pottery at the same time," says Mehta. "It's a fairly challenging technology--how was it invented? Did one workshop invent it and other workshops copy, modify and perfect it? Were they collaborating or competing with each other? I want to understand how technology really works in a society. How does a technology grow, how does it transfer from place to place, how does it change, what keeps it alive, why do some technologies eventually die away? Maybe this will help us understand how technologies are growing and changing today."

Using the information gleaned from the scientific studies of ancient vessels as a guide, the group also plans to reproduce the technology used by early artisans, ultimately firing small replicas.

The scientists hope to uncover whether works attributed to different artists used the same methods, or if techniques for creating the work differed amongst workshops producing pots at the same time. The researchers also hope to document how the process evolved over time.

The results are expected to impact a diverse range of fields in both art and science, including materials science, chemistry, archaeology, art history and art conservation.

"By partnering with SLAC and the Aerospace Corporation, we can look at the artwork in a new way," said Trentelman. "Scientific analysis gives us new insight into how and when the work was produced. In turn, our analysis can support hypotheses developed by art historians about ancient workshop practices, and also inform museum conservation efforts. Using nothing but clay dug from the ground, ancient craftsmen were able to create magnificent vessels with amazing detail. Something doesn't need to be complex to be sophisticated. If we can understand the technology with which these works of art were made, we can use the knowledge for a surprisingly wide variety of applications."

This research is funded by the NSF Chemistry and Materials Research in Cultural Heritage Science program, which supports collaborative research between academic, industrial and cultural heritage institutions. This program was developed out of a workshop jointly sponsored by NSF and the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation.

-- Melissa Abraham, J. Paul Getty Trust,

This Behind the Scenes article was provided to LiveScience in partnership with the National Science Foundation.

####

For more information, please click here

Contacts:
Melissa Abraham
J. Paul Getty Trust

Copyright © National Science Foundation

If you have a comment, please Contact us.

Issuers of news releases, not 7th Wave, Inc. or Nanotechnology Now, are solely responsible for the accuracy of the content.

Bookmark:
Delicious Digg Newsvine Google Yahoo Reddit Magnoliacom Furl Facebook

Related News Press

News and information

Physicists solve quantum tunneling mystery: ANU media release: An international team of scientists studying ultrafast physics have solved a mystery of quantum mechanics, and found that quantum tunneling is an instantaneous process May 27th, 2015

Nanotechnology identifies brain tumor types through MRI 'virtual biopsy' in animal studies: If results are confirmed in humans, tumor cells could someday be diagnosed by MRI imaging and treated with tumor-specific IV injections; new NIH grant will fund future study May 27th, 2015

Who needs water to assemble DNA? Non-aqueous solvent supports DNA nanotechnology May 27th, 2015

Controlled Release of Anticorrosive Materials in Spot by Nanocarriers May 27th, 2015

Govt.-Legislation/Regulation/Funding/Policy

Nanotechnology identifies brain tumor types through MRI 'virtual biopsy' in animal studies: If results are confirmed in humans, tumor cells could someday be diagnosed by MRI imaging and treated with tumor-specific IV injections; new NIH grant will fund future study May 27th, 2015

Who needs water to assemble DNA? Non-aqueous solvent supports DNA nanotechnology May 27th, 2015

One step closer to a single-molecule device: Columbia Engineering researchers first to create a single-molecule diode -- the ultimate in miniaturization for electronic devices -- with potential for real-world applications May 25th, 2015

DNA Double Helix Does Double Duty in Assembling Arrays of Nanoparticles: Synthetic pieces of biological molecule form framework and glue for making nanoparticle clusters and arrays May 25th, 2015

Discoveries

Advance in quantum error correction: Protocol corrects virtually all errors in quantum memory, but requires little measure of quantum states May 27th, 2015

New electronic stent could provide feedback and therapy — then dissolve May 27th, 2015

Seeing the action: UCSB researchers develop a novel device to image the minute forces and actions involved in cell membrane hemifusion May 27th, 2015

Physicists solve quantum tunneling mystery: ANU media release: An international team of scientists studying ultrafast physics have solved a mystery of quantum mechanics, and found that quantum tunneling is an instantaneous process May 27th, 2015

Materials/Metamaterials

Controlled Release of Anticorrosive Materials in Spot by Nanocarriers May 27th, 2015

Production of Copper Cobaltite Nanocomposites with Photocatalytic Properties in Iran May 27th, 2015

Dr.Theivasanthi Slashes the Price of Graphene Heavily: World first & lowest price – Nano-price (30 USD / kg) of graphene by nanotechnologist May 26th, 2015

DNA Double Helix Does Double Duty in Assembling Arrays of Nanoparticles: Synthetic pieces of biological molecule form framework and glue for making nanoparticle clusters and arrays May 25th, 2015

Announcements

Physicists solve quantum tunneling mystery: ANU media release: An international team of scientists studying ultrafast physics have solved a mystery of quantum mechanics, and found that quantum tunneling is an instantaneous process May 27th, 2015

Nanotechnology identifies brain tumor types through MRI 'virtual biopsy' in animal studies: If results are confirmed in humans, tumor cells could someday be diagnosed by MRI imaging and treated with tumor-specific IV injections; new NIH grant will fund future study May 27th, 2015

Who needs water to assemble DNA? Non-aqueous solvent supports DNA nanotechnology May 27th, 2015

Controlled Release of Anticorrosive Materials in Spot by Nanocarriers May 27th, 2015

Aerospace/Space

ORNL demonstrates first large-scale graphene fabrication May 14th, 2015

International and U.S. Students and Teachers Headed to Toronto for 34th Annual International Space Development Conference®: Students competed in prestigious NSS-NASA Ames Space Settlement Design Contest May 9th, 2015

'Microcombing' creates stronger, more conductive carbon nanotube films May 5th, 2015

Iranian Scientists Present Model to Study Mechanical Vibrations of Structures Containing Nanocomposites May 5th, 2015

Human Interest/Art

INSIDDE: Uncovering the real history of art using a graphene scanner May 21st, 2015

Winner Announced for NNI’s First ‘EnvisioNano’ Nanotechnology Image Contest May 6th, 2015

To Conserve London's 300-Year-Old Masterpiece, Nanotech & Drones April 12th, 2015

2015 Nanonics Image Contest January 29th, 2015

Research partnerships

Supercomputer unlocks secrets of plant cells to pave the way for more resilient crops: IBM partners with University of Melbourne and UQ May 21st, 2015

Taking control of light emission: Researchers find a way of tuning light waves by pairing 2 exotic 2-D materials May 20th, 2015

Efficiency record for black silicon solar cells jumps to 22.1 percent: Aalto University's researchers improved their previous record by over 3 absolute percents in cooperation with Universitat Politècnica de Catalunya May 18th, 2015

Organic nanoparticles, more lethal to tumors: Carbon-based nanoparticles could be used to sensitize cancerous tumors to proton radiotherapy and induce more focused destruction of cancer cells, a new study shows May 18th, 2015

NanoNews-Digest
The latest news from around the world, FREE




  Premium Products
NanoNews-Custom
Only the news you want to read!
 Learn More
NanoTech-Transfer
University Technology Transfer & Patents
 Learn More
NanoStrategies
Full-service, expert consulting
 Learn More










ASP
Nanotechnology Now Featured Books




NNN

The Hunger Project