Egyptian Blue cakes from the Ayanis fortress (Eastern Anatolia, Turkey): micro-chemical and -structural investigations for the identification of manufacturing process and provenance

Ingo G. M. , Cılıngıroglu A., Dı Carlo G., Batmaz A. , De Caro T., Rıccuccı C., ...More

JOURNAL OF ARCHAEOLOGICAL SCIENCE, vol.40, pp.4283-4290, 2013 (Journal Indexed in SCI) identifier identifier

  • Publication Type: Article / Article
  • Volume: 40
  • Publication Date: 2013
  • Doi Number: 10.1016/j.jas.2013.06.016
  • Page Numbers: pp.4283-4290


The microstructure and chemical composition of blue cakes, found during the archaeological excavation of the Ayanis fortress (Eastern Anatolia, Turkey), have been investigated by means of scanning electron microscopy combined with energy dispersive spectrometry (SEM-EDS), X-ray diffraction (XRD), micro-Raman (mu-Raman) and optical microscopy (OM) techniques. The analysis of the Ayanis cakes has shown the presence of Egyptian blue (i.e. CuCaOSi4O10, cuprorivaite), as the major component, intermixed with minor amount of other phases such as partially reacted quartz grains, an adherent glass phase and copper oxides. Since the finding of Egyptian Blue in Turkey has been never reported so far, great attention has been paid to its characterisation. The micro-chemical and micro-structural investigations of the Ayanis cakes have allowed a further insight into the manufacturing process and into the sources of the starting materials. The results of the characterisation have revealed some significant differences with respect to Egyptian blue cakes found in Egypt and Mesopotamia, as for instance the absence of tin excluded the use of bronze scraps or filings in their preparation differently from those produced in Egypt and Mesopotamia. Furthermore, some peculiarities of Egyptian blue found in Ayanis, as the detection of zinc in the cakes, allow to put forward the hypothesis of a local production considering that a large part of the bronze artefacts found at the Ayanis fortress is characterised by the presence of zinc as minor alloying element. (C) 2013 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.