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AMAMASA - Archeometria e metodi analitici per materiali artistici, storici e archeologici



Settore ERC

PE4_5 - Analytical chemistry
PE4_9 - Method development in chemistry


ArchaeoMetry and Analytical cheMistry in Art, hiStory and Archaeology - AMAMASA

The research activity of the AMAMASA team is focused on:

  • the characterization  of archaeological finds or objects of artistical or historical relevance, with the aim of disclosing working technologies, provenance and age
  • the development of non-invasive or micro-invasive analytical protocols for detecting chemical species in complex matrices relevant for the study of materials from the historical or archaeological heritage

The research topics are:

  • glazed and decorated pottery
  • glass
  • illuminated manuscripts
  • ancient textiles
  • historical musical instruments

Click the tabs below to navigate each topic

Research on historical and archaeological pottery are focused on:

  • provenance and technology of red/black gloss pottery and of figured Attic and South-Italic pottery
  • composition and production technology of glazes and painted decorations
  • thermoluminescence dating (in collaboration with the Department of Physics at UniTO)



Research on historical and archaeological glass are focused on:

  • the determination of raw materials and production technologies
  • the detection of colouring and opacifying agents
  • the investigation of weathering and decay processes in exposed and buried glass



The research on illuminated manuscripts (both Western and Oriental) is carried out in collaboration with prof. M. Aceto (UPO - Univerisità del Piemonte Orientale) and is focused on:

  • the detection of dyes and pigments through non-invasive analytical techniques
  • the characterization of dyeing molecules in purple codices
  • the development of procedures (either non-invasive or micro-invasive) for the detection of dyes in ancient manuscripts


The research on historical natural dyes is focused on their detection in:

  • textiles
  • paper & parchment
  • paintings (on wall, wood, canvas, paper/parchment)
  • sculptures
with the aim of:
  • detecting dyeing molecules
  • highlighting dyeing technologies
  • guiding restoration and conservation
  • provenancing manufactures and materials
  • authenticating the objects

Characterization - though a multi analitical approach - of finishing layers in historical musical instruments, with focus on organic and inorganic colourants such as pigments, lakes, dyes and coloured resins.

The research is ongoing with the aim of developing proper strategies and protocols - possibly non-invasive - for the selective detection of each colourant.



  • fibre optics reflectance spectroscopy (FORS)
  • fluorimetry
  • optical microscopy (OM)
  • colourimetry


  • Raman spectroscopy
  • Surface-enhanced Raman spectroscopy (SERS)
  • Fourier transformed infra-red spectroscopy (FTIR)
  • Attenuated total reflection infra-red spectroscopy (ATR-IR)
  • Induced coupled plasma optical emission spectrometry (ICP/OES)
  • Induced coupled plasma mass spectrometry (ICP-MS)
  • Scanning electron microscopy (SEM) coupled with energy dispersive X-ray microanalysis (EDX)
  • High-performance liquid chromatography with diode array detection coupled with mass spectrometry (HPLC-DAD-MS)
  • X-ray powder diffraction (XRD)


Publications on ISI journals:

G. Fiocco, C. Invernizzi, S. Grassi, P. Davit, M. Albano, T. Rovetta, C. Stani, L. Vaccari, M. Malagodi, M. Licchelli, M. Gulmini. Reflection FTIR spectroscopy for the study of historical bowed string instruments: invasive and non-invasive approaches. Spectrochimica Acta part A: Molecular and biomolecular spectroscopy (2021) n. 118926. (Free download until end of October 2020:

Davit, P., Turco, F., Operti, L., Borghi, A., Cellerino, A. Archaeometric investigation of pottery from funerary gifts in Kal-e Chendar, Shami (Khuzestan, Iran) Archaeometry. 62 (2020) 731-751. (

Cossio, R., Davit, P., Turco, F., Operti, L., Pratolongo, V., Leone, R., Lamagna, G., Borghi, A. Automated SEM-EDS pottery classification based on minero-chemical quantitative parameters: An application on ancient Greek pottery from Adrano (NE Sicily, Italy. X-Ray Spectrometry, 49 (2020) 291-301. (

D'Elia, E., Buscaglia, P., Piccirillo, A., Picollo, M., Casini, A., Cucci, C., Stefani, L., Romano, F.P., Caliri, C., Gulmini. M. Macro X-ray fluorescence and VNIR hyperspectral imaging in the investigation of two panels by Marco d'Oggiono. Microchemical Journal, 154 (2020) n. 104541 (

Calà, E., Benzi, M., Gosetti, F., Zanin, A., Gulmini, M., Idone, A., Serafini, I., Ciccola, A., Curini, R., Whitworth, I., Aceto, M. Towards the identification of the lichen species in historical orchil dyes by HPLC-MS/MS. Microchemical Journal, 150 (2019) n. 104140. (

Tamburini, D., Dyer, J., Davit, P., Aceto, M., Turina, V., Borla, M., Vandenbeusch, M., Gulmini, M. Compositional and micro-morphological characterisation of red colourants in archaeological textiles from pharaonic Egypt. Molecules (2019) n. 3761.  (Open Access:

Calà, E., Gosetti, F., Gulmini, M., Serafini, I., Ciccola, A., Curini, R., Salis, A., Damonte, G., Kininger, K., Just, T., Aceto, M. It’s only a part of the story: Analytical investigation of the inks and dyes used in the privilegium maius Molecules (2019) n. 2197. (Open Access:

Aceto, M., Calà, E., Agostino, A., Fenoglio, G., Gulmini, M., Idone, A., Porter, C., Hofmann, C., Rabitsch, S., Denoël, C., Förstel, C., Quandt, A. Mythic dyes or mythic colour? New insight into the use of purple dyes on codices Spectrochimica Acta - Part A: Molecular and Biomolecular Spectroscopy. 215 (2019)pp. 133-141. (

T. Rovetta, C. Invernizzi, G. Fiocco, M. Albano, M. Licchelli, M. Gulmini, G. Alf, D. Fabbri, A.G. Rombolà, M. Malagodi. The case of Antonio Stradivari 1718 ex-San Lorenzo violin: History, restorations and conservation perspectives. Journal of Archaeological Science: Reports, 23 (2019) 443-450.  (

Fiocco, G., Rovetta, T., Invernizzi, C., Albano, M., Malagodi, M., Licchelli, M., Re, A., Lo Giudice, A., Lanzafame, G.N., Zanini, F., Iwanicka, M., Targowski, P., Gulmini, M. A micro-tomographic insight into the coating systems of historical bowed string instruments. Coatings  (2019) n. 81. (Open Access:

Fiocco, G., Rovetta, T., Malagodi, M., Licchelli, M., Gulmini, M., Lanzafame, G., Zanini, F., Lo Giudice, A., Re, A. Synchrotron radiation micro-computed tomography for the investigation of finishing treatments in historical bowed string instruments: Issues and perspectives European Physical Journal Plus, 133 (2018) n.525 (

G. Fiocco, T. Rovetta, M. Gulmini, A. Piccirillo, C. Canevari, M. Licchelli, M. Malagodi. Approaches for detecting madder lake in multi-layered coating systems of historical bowed string instruments. Coatings, 8 (2018) 171-187. (Open access: - Volume's cover story)

A. Idone, I. Miletto, P. Davit, M. Aceto, E. Prenesti, M. Gulmini. Direct fluorimetric characterisation of dyes in ancient purple codices. Microchemical Journal, 135 (2017) 122-128.  (

G. Fiocco, T. Rovetta, M. Gulmini, A. Piccirillo, M. Licchelli, M Malagodi. Spectroscopic analysis to characterize finishing treatments of ancient bowed string instruments. Applied Spectroscopy 71 (2017) 2477-2487. (
M. Aceto, E. Calà, A. Arrais, M. Clericuzio, F. Marsano, A. Idone, P. Davit, L. Menghini, M. Gulmini. On the identification of folium by SERS: from crude extracts to illuminated codices. Journal of Raman Spectroscopy, 48 (2017) 530-537. (
L. Degani, M. Gulmini, G. Piccablotto, P. Iacomussi, D. Gastaldi, F. Dal Bello, O. Chiantore.  Stability of natural dyes under light emitting diode lamps. Journal of Cultural Heritage,  26(2017) 12-21. (
M. Gulmini, A. Idone, P. Davit, M. Moi, M. Carrillo, C. Ricci, F. Dal Bello, M. Borla, C. Oliva, C. Greco, M. Aceto. The "Coptic" textiles of the "Museo Egizio" in Torino (Italy): a focus on dyes through a multi-technique approach. Archaeol Anthropol Sci, 9 (2017) 485-497. (
M. Aceto, E. Calà, A. Agostino, G. Fenoglio, A. Idone, C. Porter, M. Gulmini. On the characterizaion of foliu and orchil on illuminate manuscripts. Spectrochimica acta Part A: Molecular and Biomolecular Spectroscopy, 171 (2017) 461-469. (
F. Turco, P. Davit, R. Cossio, A. Agostino, L. Operti. Accuracy improvement by means of porosity assessment and standards optimization in SEM-EDS and XRF elemental analyses on archaeological and historical pottery and porcelain. Journal of Archaeological Science: Reports 12 (2017) 54-65. (
F. Turco, P. Davit, A. Borghi, J. Bruno, C. Lippolis, L. Operti. Multi-technique characterization of various artefacts and raw materials from Old Nisa (Turkmenistan): A preliminary study. Journal of Archaeological Science: Reports 5 (2016) 374-382. (
F. Turco, P. Davit, C. Maritano, L. Operti, G. Fenoglio, A. Agostino. XRF Characterization Of 18th Century Piedmontese Porcelains From The Palazzo Madama Museum (Torino, Italy). Archaeometry 58(5) (2016) 765-778. (
F. Turco, P. Davit, F. Chelazzi, A. Borghi, L. Bombardieri, L. Operti. Characterization of Late Prehistoric Plasters and Mortars from Erimi - Laonin tou Porakou (Limassol, Cyprus). Archaeometry 58(2) (2016) 284-296. (

M. Gulmini, F. Scongnamiglio, G. Roselli, V. Vaggelli. Composition and microstructure of maiolica from the museum of ceramics in Ascoli Piceno: evidences by electron microscopy and microanalysis, Applied Physics A - Material science & processing, 120 (2015) 1643-1652. (

M. Aceto, A. Arrais, F. Marsano, A. Agostino, G. Fenoglio, A. Idone, M. Gulmini. A diagnostic study on folium and orchil dyes with non-invasive and micro-destructive methods, Spectrochimica acta Part A:Molecular and Biomolecular Spectroscopy, 142 (2015) 159-168. (

E. Tema, F. Fantino, E. Ferrara, S. Allegretti, A. Lo Giudice, A. Re, F. Barello, S. Vella, L. Cirillo, M. Gulmini. Archaeological, archaeomagnetic and thermoluminescence investigation of a baked clay kiln excavated at Chieri, northern Italy: contribution to the rescue of our cultural heritage, Annals of Geophysics, 57 (2014) (doi: 10.4401/ag-6611)

P. Davit, F. Turco, S. Coluccia, L. Operti, F. Chelazzi, L. Bombardieri. Technological and compositional characterization of Red Polished Ware from the Bronze Age Kouris Valley (Cyprus). Mediterranean Archaeology and Archaeometry 14(2) (2014) 1-18.

L. Degani, C. Riedo, M. Gulmini, O. Chiantore. From Plant Extracts to Historical Textiles: Characterization of Dyestuffs by GC-MS, Chromatographia, 77 (2014) 1683-1696 (doi: 10.1007/s10337-014-2772-z)

A. Idone, M. Aceto, E. Diana, L. Appolonia, M. Gulmini. Surface-enhanced Raman scattering for the analysis of red lake pigments in painting layers mounted in cross sections, Journal of Raman Spectroscopy, 45 (2014) 1127-1132 (doi: 10.1002/jrs.4491)

M. Aceto, A. Agostino, G. Fenoglio, A. Idone, M. Gulmini, M. Picollo, P. Ricciardi, J. K. Delaney. Characterisation of colourants on illuminated manuscripts by portable fibre optic UV-visible-NIR reflectance spectrophotometry, Anal. Methods, 6 (2014), 1488-1500  (doi: 10.1039/c3ay41904e)

M. Aceto, A. Idone, A. Agostino, G. Fenoglio, M. Gulmini, P. Baraldi, F.Crivello. Non-invasive investigation on a VI century purple codex from Brescia, Italy. Spectrochimica Acta part A.Molecular and Biomolecular Spectroscopy, 117 (2014) 34-41 (doi: 10.1016/j.saa.2013.07.092)

A. Idone, M. Gulmini, A.I. Henry, F. Casadio, L. Chang, L. Appolonia, R.P. Van Duyne, N. C.Shah. Silver colloidal pastes for dye analysis of reference and historical textile fibers using direct, extractionless, non-hydrolysis surface-enhanced Raman spectroscopy. Analyst, 138 (2013) 5895 - 5903 (doi: 10.1039/c3an00788j)

M. Ganio, M. Gulmini, K. Latruwe, F. Vanhaecke, P. Degryse. Sasanian glass from Veh Ardašīr investigated by strontium and neodymium isotopic analysis, Journal of archaeological science, 40 (2013) 4264-4270 (doi: 10.1016/j.jas.2013.06.018)

M. Gulmini, A. Idone, E. Diana, D. Gastaldi, D. Vaudan, M. Aceto. Identification of dyestuffs in historical textiles: Strong and weak points of a non-invasive approach, Dyes and Pigments 98 (2013) 136-145, (doi:10.1016/j.dyepig.2013.02.010)

E. Tema, F. Fantino, E. Ferrara, A. Lo Giudice, J. Morales, A. Goguitchaichvili, P. Camps, F. Barello, M. Gulmini. Combined archaeomagnetic and thermoluminescence study of a brick kiln excavated at Fontanetto Po (Vercelli, Northern Italy). Journal of archaeological science, 40 (2013) 2025-2035 (doi: 10.1016/j.jas.2012.12.011)

M. Gulmini, R. Giannini. A.M. Lega, G. Manna P. Mirti. Technology of production of Ghaznavid glazed pottery form Bust and Lashkar-i-Bazar (Afghanistan) Archaeometry, 55 (2013) 569-590 (doi: 10.1111/j.1475-4754.2012.00703.x)

M. Aceto, A. Agostino, G. Fenoglio, M. Gulmini, V. Bianco, E. Pellizzi. Non-invasive analysis of miniature paintings: proposal for an analytical protocol, Spectrochimica Acta part A. Molecular and Biomolecular Spectroscopy 91 (2012) 352-359

M. Gulmini, M. Pace, G. Ivaldi, M. Negro Ponzi, P. Mirti. Morphological and chemical characterization of weathering products on buried Sasanian glass from central Iraq,  Journal of non-crystalline solids 255 (2009) 1613-1621

M. Gulmini, L. Appolonia, P. Framarin, P Mirti. Compositional and technological features of glazed pottery from Aosta Valley (Italy): a SEM_EDS investigation, Analytical and Bioanalytical chemistry 386 (2006) 1815-1822

P. Mirti, A. Perardi, M. Gulmini, M.C. Preacco. Scientific investigation on provenance and technology of a black figure amphora attributed to the Priam group, Archaeometry 48 (2006) 31-43

P. Mirti, M. Gulmini, A. Perardi, P. Davit, D. Elia. Technology of production or red figure pottery from Attic and southern Italian workshops, Analytical and Bioanalytical Chemistry 380 (2004) 712-718

P. Mirti, M. Gulmini, M. Pace, D. Elia. The provenance of red figure vases from Locri Epizephiri (southern Italy): new evidence by chemical analyses, Achaeometry 46 (2004) 183-200

P. Mirti, P Davit, M. Gulmini. Colourants and opacifiers in seventh and eighth century glass investigated by spectroscopic techniques, Analytical and Bioanalytical Chemisty 372 (2002) 221-229

P. Mirti, P. Davit, M. Gulmini and L. Saguì. Glass fragments from the Crypta Balbi in Rome: the composition of eigth century fragments, Archaeometry 43 (2001) 491-502

Present and past collaborations:

The British Museum - Department of conservation and scientific research

Elettra Sinctrotrone Trieste

Laboratorio ARVEDI di diagnostica non invasiva - Museo del Violino - Cremona

UNITO - Dipartimento di fisica -Solid State Physics Group

UNITO - Dipartimento di scienze della terra

UNITO - Dipartimento di biotecnologie molecolari e scienze della salute - Gruppo chimica analitica e bioanalitica

UPO - Dipartimento di scienze e innovazione tecnologica

UNICAM - Dipartimento di scienze chimiche



KU Leuven - Department of Earth and Environmental Sciences - Division of Geology

Northwestern University / Art Institute of Chicago - NU Access center for scientific studies in the arts

Centro di Conservazione e restauro «la Venaria Reale»

Regione Autonoma Valle D'Aosta - Laboratorio Analisi Scientifiche

Soprintendenza Beni archeologici del Piemonte e Museo Antichità Egizie 

Fondazione Museo delle Antichità Egizie Torino

MAO - Museo arti orientali Torino

Studio restauro Oliva - Torino

Tecnart s.r.l -  Tecnologia e ricerca per l'arte

Museo Internazionale delle Ceramiche in Faenza - MIC

The Montefiascone Conservation Projec

Laboratorio Interinstitucional de Magnetismo Natural, Instituto de Geofisica, UNAM, unidad Michoacan (Mexico)

National Gallery of Art, Washington, D.C. (USA)




Ultimo aggiornamento: 18/09/2020 12:01
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