Multispectral analysis of miniature nuragic bronze flasks

Carlo Nocco, Francesca Assunta Pisu, Daniele Chiriu, Anna Depalmas, Sergio Augusto Barcellos Lins, Antonio Brunetti

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Miniaturized bronze flasks represent a small portion of a wide metallurgical production that flourished in Sardinia (Italy) between the Final Bronze Age (FBA) and the Early Iron Age (EIA). They replicate a well-known and symbolic type of object, the pilgrims’ flask, common in all Europe and Mediterranean basin, and have but few archaeological parallels. For these reasons, their characterization can be considered important from an archaeological perspective. Three flasks, preserved at the Antiquarium Arborense museum (Oristano), were analyzed by X-Ray Fluorescence Spectroscopy (XRF) and Raman spectroscopy, integrated by multispectral images. The samples, coming from illegal excavations, posed two problems: establishing their authenticity and investigating the alloy composition of such particular objects. All specimens presented a widespread degradation in the outer surface: XRF and Raman spectroscopy indicated the presence of copper oxides, calcium and copper carbonates deposits. The abscence of Zn, a clear marker of forgeries, was not detected by XRF. In two of the flasks, an unusual Sn content above 20%, was detected. For FBA and EIA, especially regarding southern Europe, Sn was extremely rare, and was possibly used with caution. Further results are presented herein.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1716-1724
Number of pages9
Issue number3
StatePublished - 1 Sep 2021
Externally publishedYes


  • Miniature bronze objects
  • Monte Carlo
  • Pilgrim flask
  • Raman
  • Sardinia
  • XRF

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Archaeology
  • Conservation
  • Materials Science (miscellaneous)


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