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Restaurator. International Journal for the Preservation of Library and Archival Material

Editor-in-Chief: Eyb-Green, Sigrid / Henniges, Ute

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Volume 31, Issue 1 (Jan 2010)


Analyses of Iron Gall and Carbon Inks by Means of X-ray Fluorescence Analysis: A Non-Destructive Approach in the Field of Archaeometry and Conservation Science

Oliver Hahn
Published Online: 2010-04-12 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.1515/rest.2010.003


The qualitative and quantitative investigation of historical writing materials using micro-X-ray fluorescence analysis (micro-XRF) is a suitable method for obtaining information about the chemical composition of these materials. One the one hand these chemical composition fingerprints may answer some questions concerning the provenance of different materials, the chronology of their use, and give furthermore, the possibility to date unknown fragments in the lifework of an artist. On the other hand this method might be useful for the development and validation of conservation treatments.


Die qualitative und quantitative Untersuchung von historischen Schreibmaterialien mittels Röntgenfluoreszenzanalyse (Mikro-RFA) ist eine geeignete Methode, um Informationen über die chemische Zusammensetzung dieser Materialien zu gewinnen. Einerseits ermöglichen die Erkenntnisse die Beantwortung von Fragen nach der Herkunft der Schreibmaterialien, die Chronologie des Gebrauchs und erlauben vielleicht die Einordnung eines unbekannten Stücks in das Gesamtkunstwerk eines Künstlers. Auf der anderen Seite liefert die Methode nützliche Erkenntnisse für die Entwicklung oder die Validierung von Restaurierungs- oder Konservierungsmethoden.


L'analyse qualitative et quantitative de matériaux historiques écrits ou dessinés au moyen de la spectroscopie de fluorescence aux rayons X (micro-XRF) est une méthode appropriée pour obtenir des informations sur la composition chimique de ces matériaux. Le résultats obtenus permettent d'une part de répondre aux questions relatives à l'origine des matériaux, à la chronologie de leur utilisation et servent peut-être aussi à situer une oeuvre inconnue dans l'ensemble de l'oeuvre d'un artiste. D'autre part, cette méthode donne des informations précieuses sur le développement et le bien-fondé des procédures de restauration et de conservation.

About the article

BAM Federal Institute for Materials Research and Testing, Division IV.2, Working Group “Analysis of Cultural Assets”, Unter den Eichen 44-46, D-12203 Berlin, Germany. T: +49-30-8104-3821, F: +49-30-8104-4427, Mail:

Received: 2009-10-20

Revised: 2009-01-25

Published Online: 2010-04-12

Published in Print: 2010-01-01

Citation Information: Restaurator, ISSN (Online) 1865-8431, ISSN (Print) 0034-5806, DOI: https://doi.org/10.1515/rest.2010.003. Export Citation

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