The Results of Non-destructive Microscopic and Spectral Examinations of Grave Galloons from Toruń and Gdańsk
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Instytut Archeologii Uniwersytetu Wrocławskiego
Instytut Archeologii, Uniwersytetu Mikołaja Kopernika
Publication date: 2018-12-31
Wiadomości Archeologiczne 2018;LXIX(69):67-78
Galloons, or textile bands, in which the ornament is usually made up of metal threads, are alongside other fabrics a subject of interest for the researchers both in terms of their structure as well as the raw ma-terials used in their making. In most cases, the analysis is limited to the determination of the raw material and a description of the weave, fabric density and the type of the ornament. However, this kind of description is incomplete and requires a supplementary archaeomet-ric examination. Thanks to the archaeometry, different types of met-al threads in fabrics as well as their varied applications can be stud-ied. The literature on the subject lists many various examples of metal threads being used – made of gold, gold and silver alloys, or gilded or silver-plated copper wound on silk, linen or wool fibers. Moreo-ver, different manners of obtaining metal threads can be seen, such as by wrapping wires around a fibrous core or winding strips of metal on a silk fiber. Due to the historical value of historic textiles, archae-ometric tests are usually based on analytical methods, which should not cause significant damage to the artefacts. These are usually spec-troscopic techniques based on the use of the X-ray fluorescence (ED-XRF) and microscopic observations at various magnification levels. Four silk galloons from the archaeological research in Toruń (the Church of the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary) and Gdańsk (the Church of the Holy Trinity) were selected for the analysis (Fig. 1, 7). The galloons were used for decoration as well as to support the upholstery covering the outer surface of the coffins. The macroscopic analysis showed that the layout of the geometric pattern in the selected samples is very similar. It was created in an identical manner in all instances – through the use of an additional metal thread weft. Therefore, the primary goal of the research was to identify the raw material of the metal thread in an attempt to answer the question if all the galloons could have been produced in the same haberdashery workshop. The archaeometric examination carried out on the metal threads confirmed that they are made of gilded silver (Fig. 2, 3, 6, 9, 11, 12). Gold, which was identified in the metal threads, was applied only superficially on the metal strips and is easily abraded, which can be observed as an uneven color on the surface of the threads (Fig. 4, 5, 8, 10). In addition, due to the significant deformation of the threads that occurred during the deposition of the fabric and their poor state of preservation, it is difficult to discuss the results of the microscopic observation of the threads (Figs. 13, 14). The analysis of the results of the metallographic examination indicates that silk fibers could be wrapped with fairly diverse metal materials. Based on these findings, it cannot be determined whether the galloons were manufactured in the same haberdashery workshop.
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