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Colloquium: MA-XRF Imaging of Greek Historical and Prehistoric Antiquities. Recent Results, New Interpretations

Event Details:

  • Date:       Thursday, 27 February 2020
  • Time:      Starts: 16:00
  • Venue:    The Cyprus InstituteGuy Ourisson Building, Seminar Room, 1st Floor, Athalassa Campus
  • Speaker: Dr Andreas-Germanos Karydas, Research Director & Head of XRF Laboratory, Institute of Nuclear and Particle Physics, NCSR "Demokritos"
The colloquium will be in English and the event is open to the public.
Live streaming of the lecture will be available on The Cyprus Institute’s YouTube Channel
Live streaming is facilitated by the CySTEM project funded by the European Union’s Horizon 2020 Research and Innovation program under Grant Agreement No. 667942.
Images and/or recordings of our open public events may be used by The Cyprus Institute for dissemination purposes including print and digital media such as websites, press-releases, social media, and live streaming.



Macroscopic X-ray Fluorescence imaging (MA-XRF) emerged during the last decade as an indispensable analytical tool for the non-invasive elemental imaging of historical or contemporary paintings. The ability of the technique to allow simultaneous mapping of different chemical elements on a large-dimension pictorial surface, offers through the produced elemental images an immediate visual impression of how the different elements are distributed in close conjunction with the iconographic elements, thus, unravelling their possible associations. In this way, more comprehensive interpretation can be achieved, regarding the nature of materials employed and of their application techniques providing new insights into art history and conservation science. To date, the application of MA-XRF to archaeological artefacts is rather limited, since ancient polychromy is either scarcely preserved or has entirely vanished [1, 2].

In the present talk, recent results from the first application of MAXRF imaging on Greek historical and prehistoric antiquities will be presented and discussed. All the measurements have been carried out in-situ, at different Greek museums, using a real time technology optimized MA-XRF spectrometer, called LANDIS-X, developed by INFN-LNS in Catania, Italy [3]. More specifically, the materials examined include remnants of polychromy on marble (Cycladic figurines), Bronze Age wall-painting fragments from the Palace of Nestor in Pylos [4], the Archaic period painted wooden panels of Pitsa [5] and the four gold signet rings recently retrieved from the Griffin Warrior tomb [6].

The obtained results have demonstrated clearly the enhanced capabilities of the MA-XRF technique to analyze quite different in nature archaeological materials (gold alloy/pigments) or the same materials (pigments) on different media, and highlight the perspectives and future contribution of this revolutionary technique to archaeological research.

  1. J. K. Delaney, K.A. Dooley, R. Radpour & I. Kakoulli, “Macroscale multimodal imaging reveals ancient painting production technology and the vogue in Greco-Roman Egypt”, Scientific Reports volume 7, Article number: 15509 (2017)
  2. M. Alfeld, M. Mulliez, J. Devogelaere, L. de Viguerie, P. Jockey and P. Walter, "MA-XRF and hyperspectral reflectance imaging for visualizing traces of antique polychromy on the Frieze of the Siphnian Treasury," Microchemical Journal, vol. 141, pp. 395-403, 2018
  3. FP Romano, C. Caliri, P. Nicotra, S. Di Martino, L. Pappalardo, F. Rizzo, H. Santos, “Real-time elemental imaging of large dimension paintings with a novel mobile macro X-ray fluorescence (MA-XRF) scanning technique”, Journal of Analytical Atomic Spectrometry, 2017;32(4):773-781
  4. E. Kokiasmenou, C. Caliri, V. Kantarelou, AG Karydas, FP Romano and H. Brecoulaki, “Macroscopic XRF imaging in unravelling polychromy on Mycenaean wall-paintings from the Palace of Nestor at Pylos”, JAS: Reports, 29, February 2020, 102079,
  5. H. Brecoulaki, G. Verri, B. Bourgeois, FP Romano, AG Karydas, C. Caliri, E. Martin-Gonzalez and G. Kavvadias, “The ‘lost art’ of Archaic painting : revealing new evidence on the Pitsa pinakes through MA-XRF and imaging techniques”, forthcoming in TECHNE, 2020
  6. JL Davis and SR Stocker, “The Lord of the Gold Rings - The Griffin Warrior of Pylos”, Hesperia 2016;85:627-655

pitsa panel

The Pitsa panel 16464, the best-preserved example of panel painting in ancient Greece dated to the second half of the 6th century BC (540-530 BC), depicting a family procession to an altar to make sacrifice to the nymphs. From the article: "The ‘lost art’ of Archaic painting: revealing new evidence on the Pitsa pinakes through MA-XRF and imaging techniques", by H. Brecoulaki, G. Verri, B. Bourgeois, P. F. Romano, A. G. Karydas, C. Caliri, E. Martin-Gonzalez and G. Kavvadias, in press, Techne, 2020.

pitsa panel reconstruction

Reconstruction of the Pitsa panel 16464 using the Macroscopic X-ray Fluorescence (MA-XRF) elemental maps of Iron (Fe), Arsenic (As) and Copper (Cu). From the article: "The ‘lost art’ of Archaic painting: revealing new evidence on the Pitsa pinakes through MA-XRF and imaging techniques", by H. Brecoulaki, G. Verri, B. Bourgeois, P. F. Romano, A. G. Karydas, C. Caliri, E. Martin-Gonzalez and G. Kavvadias, in press, Techne, 2020.

About The Speaker

Dr Andreas Germanos KarydasDr. Andreas Germanos Karydas is Research Director at the Institute of Nuclear and Particle Physics of the National Center for Scientific Research “Demokritos” and Head of the XRF Laboratory. He holds a BSc in Physics from the University of Athens and received his Ph.D. in the field of Analytical Applications of Nuclear Techniques from the National Technical University of Athens (1994). Dr. Andreas Karydas has more than twenty-five (25) years of research experience, including six (6) years (2009-2015) as leader of the XRF group of the Nuclear Science and Instrumentation Laboratory (NSIL) at the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) and one (1) year as senior staff of the IAEA Physics Section (2016).

During his tenure at the IAEA he has been acted as Technical Officer in more than twenty (20) national and regional Technical Cooperation projects, whereas in 2015 he received a merit award in recognition of his contribution in the coordination, implementation and commissioning of a new beamline end-station at Elettra Sincrotrone Trieste.

His research team interests focus towards: 1) the study of fundamental X-ray interactions with matter and de-excitation processes of ionized atoms, in particular of the X-ray Resonant Raman scattering and cascade X-ray emission and 2) the development of analytical methodologies, instrumentation and interdisciplinary applications of X-ray fluorescence and Ion Beam Analysis techniques, with emphasis on the areas of cultural heritage, materials science, environmental monitoring and biomedicine/pharmaceuticals. Dr. Andreas Germanos Karydas has coordinated for INPP many National, bilateral and European competitive projects, such as the ATT-29 (PEP ATTIKIS, 2006-2008), DEMO-Research (2006-2008), IAEA-CRP (2006-2008), PROMET FP6-INCO (509126, 2004-2008), IKYDA-DAAD (2004-2006) and a bilateral Greece-Slovenia project (2002-2003).

Dr. Andreas Germanos Karydas has published more than 116 articles in international peer-review journals and more than 40 in peer-review proceeding of international conferences that have received over 1,300 citations, excluding self-citations. He is a member of the Advisory Board of the X-ray Spectrometry (2005) and Microchemical Journal (2015) and member of the international advisory committee of the European X-Ray Spectrometry and Technart conferences. Dr. Andreas Germanos Karydas has more than eighteen (18) invited talks at international conferences and has supervised two (2) PhDs, five (5) Master (MSc) and over ten (10) Diploma theses. Since 2009 he has been external evaluator of research proposals submitted within European funded projects such as SPIRIT, CHARISMA, IPERION CH. During the period 2012-2016 he has been president of the European X-Ray Spectrometry Association (EXSA). Dr. Andreas Germanos Karydas acted as National delegate in Regional IAEA Technical Cooperation projects (2006-2009, Nuclear-Techniques for the Protection of Cultural Heritage Artefacts) and in the G8 (2000-2005) and ENFORCE-TXRF (2019-2023) COST actions.

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Additional Info

  • Date: Thursday 27 February 2020
  • Time: Starts: 16:00
  • Speaker: Dr Andreas-Germanos Karydas
  • Co-organisers: Head of the XRF Laboratory Institute of Nuclear and Particle Physics, NCSR “Demokritos"

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