Art and archaeometry

On-site analysis in museums, collections and during archaeological excavations

As a scientific travel companion, our XL3-series opens up entirely new possibilities. With the lab in the hand, scientists can now work wherever samples cannot be moved or are not allowed to be exported. Since results are immediately available, measuring strategies can be flexibly adapted on-site. This is an invaluable advantage when returning to the measuring site is not feasible.

Advantages of the method

  • Non-destructive.
  • Immediate results.
  • Battery powered operation.
  • Wide range of accessories for field operations.
  • Extremely fast and perfectly suited for a large amount of samples.

The XL3 hybrid or XL5 portable X-ray fluorescence spectrometers and the handheld FTIR 4300 complement established laboratory methods for elemental, molecular, trace and isotopic analysis.

Fields of application: Archaeology

  • Grouping ceramics and shards according to their origins with respect to their element fingerprint; specific selection of samples and objects for further grouping.
  • Identification (e.g. as gold or bronze) of metal artefacts already at the excavation site or after block excavation.
  • Finding typical metal traces in soils or slags as evidence for ancient furnaces.
  • Locating phosphorus and calcium as traces of ancient settlements.

Fields of application: Artistic and cultural assets

  • Manufacturing technique: Finding answers to questions such as: “Is the object solid gold or gold-plated?”
  • Age determination: indirect dating according to pigments and materials used.
  • Authenticity: analysis of typical materials and traces of elements or pigments used.
  • Origin: assignment of the workshop via materials or pigments typically used.
  • Conservation and restoration: identification of materials and pigments used, control of materials for restoration, detection of contamination with heavy metals (Pb, As, Hg) and chlorine (such as insecticides).

Application examples and further reading

  • On-site analyses on early modern cut glassware.
  • Measurement of the phosphate distribution in a Bronze Age settlement in Lossow/Oder (Link)
  • Chemical-mineralogical examination of the geoglyph of NASCA in Peru.
  • Scientific analyses of prehistoric and early ceramics Helfert-Boehme.
  • The Niton-analyser in archaeometry.
  • Lectures at the archaeometry conference in Bochum 2010.

Clever solutions

Niton XL3 hybrid

Precise element analysis with switchable helium purging


Niton XL5

Mobile PMI analysis with lowest detection limits


FTIR 4300

Handheld FTIR spectrometer for surface analysis


Do you have questions?

Are you looking for an analyzer for Art/Archaeometry?
Our team of experts will be happy to support you and answer your questions about application, technology and options.