Characterization of pigments and ligands in a wall painting fragment from Liternum archaeological park (Italy)

Gaetano Corso, Monica Gelzo, Angela Chambery, Valeria Severino, Antimo Di Maro, Filomena Schiano Lomoriello, Oceania D'Apolito, Antonio Dello Russo, Patrizia Gargiulo, Ciro Piccioli, Paolo Arcari

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Spectroscopic and MS techniques were used to characterize the pigments and the composition of polar and nonpolar binders of a stray wall painting fragment from Liternum (Italy) archaeological excavation. X-ray fluorescence and diffraction analysis of the decorations indicated mainly the presence of calcite, quartz, hematite, cinnabar, and cuprorivaite. Infrared spectroscopy, GC coupled to flame-ionization detector, and MS analysis of the polar and nonpolar components extracted from paint layers from three different color regions revealed the presence of free amino acids, sugars, and fatty acids. Interestingly, LC-MS shotgun analysis of the red painting region showed the presence of αS1-casein of buffalo origin. Compared to our previous results from Pompeii's wall paintings, even though the Liternum painting mixture contained also binders of animal origin, the data strongly suggest that in both cases a tempera painting technique was utilized.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)2986-2993
Number of pages8
JournalJournal of Separation Science
Issue number21
Publication statusPublished - Nov 2012


  • Cultural heritage
  • Gas chromatography-mass spectrometry
  • Infrared spectroscopy
  • Liquid chromatography-electrospray ionization-mass spectrometry
  • Wall painting

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Analytical Chemistry
  • Filtration and Separation


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