I trained as a conservation scientist at the University of Parma later obtaining a PhD in Archaeology from the University of Ghent, focussing on the characterisation of cultural heritage materials. I have worked on gem-quality materials (garnets, Graeco-Roman jewellery, Neolithic jade axe heads, tanzanite), on pigments and their degradation, on polychrome objects of different epochs (Roman, Flemish, modern), as well as on the development of innovative materials for conservation-restoration of built heritage.
Knowing the material composition of archaeological records and museum objects helps to shed light on the sourcing, processing and use of materials in the past, as well as on their current state of conservation. Considering the unique nature of cultural heritage, a tailored analytical approach is required to extract as much information as possible while minimizing sampling and destructive tests.
For Crossreads, and in collaboration with the University of Catania, I will work on the minero-petrographic characterization of the inscribed stones. To do so, I will deploy a set of non-invasive analytical tools (X-rays fluorescence; Raman and infrared spectroscopies) for the in situ systematic characterization of epigraphic materials in Sicilian museums and archaeological sites; moreover, some inscriptions will be sampled for more detailed analyses in the laboratory (optical and electronic microscopy, X-rays diffraction, micro-Raman and infrared spectroscopy, etc). In order to assess the provenance of the materials, historical Sicilian quarries will be tested for comparison, while keeping an eye on well-known Mediterranean trade routes for decorative stones, including marble.
The minero-petrographic characterization of the corpus will contribute to a more comprehensive understanding of the complex panorama of Sicilian epigraphy, and promote interdisciplinary collaborations.