A Roman Period palette: Composition of pigments from King Herod's palaces in Jericho and Massada, Israel

Naomi Porat, Shimon Ilani

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

11 Scopus citations

Abstract

The mineralogy and chemical composition of pigments used in antiquity for decorating walls from King Herod's palaces in Jericho and Massada were investigated. The pigments, found at Massada on frescoes and at Jericho also in bowls, were analyzed using X-ray diffraction and scanning electron microscopy. Nine different pigments were identified in the bowls and most of them were also used for painting the frescoes. The red (cinnabar), orange (minium), and green (celadonite) pigments were brought from different locations in the Roman Empire. Black (soot), white (chalk), pink (kaolinite), brick-red (hematite), and yellow (goethite) pigments could have been found or produced locally. The black, blue (cuprorivaite), pink, and orange pigments are man-made, whereas the others are natural. The pigment assemblage used for the frescoes at both palaces is similar to other assemblages described from sites around the Roman Empire.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)75-85
Number of pages11
JournalIsrael Journal of Earth Sciences
Volume47
Issue number2
StatePublished - 1998
Externally publishedYes

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