Preprints
https://doi.org/10.5194/mr-2022-10
https://doi.org/10.5194/mr-2022-10
 
16 May 2022
16 May 2022
Status: a revised version of this preprint was accepted for the journal MR and is expected to appear here in due course.

Insight into the structure of black coatings of ancient Egyptian mummies by advanced Electron magnetic resonance of vanadyl complexes

Charles Emmanuel Dutoit1, Laurent Binet1, Hervé Vezin2, Océane Anduze1, Agnès Lattuati-Derieux3, and Didier Gourier1 Charles Emmanuel Dutoit et al.
  • 1Chimie-ParisTech, PSL University, CNRS, Institut de Recherche de Chimie-Paris (IRCP), F-75005 Paris, France
  • 2Université de Lille, CNRS, UMR8516-LASIRE, F-59000 Lille, France
  • 3Centre de Recherche et de Restauration des Musées de France (C2RMF), Palais du Louvre, F-75001 Paris, France

Abstract. Ancient Egyptian mummies from the Late Period to the Greco-Roman period were covered by a black coating consisting in a complex and heterogeneous mixtures of conifer resins, wax, fat and oil with variable amounts of bitumen. Natural bitumen always contains traces of vanadyl porphyrin complexes that we used here as internal probes to explore the nanoscale environment of V4+ ions in these black coatings by Electron Nuclear Double Resonance (ENDOR) and Hyperfine Sublevel CORrelation spectroscopy (HYSCORE). Four types of vanadyl porphyrin complexes were identified from the analysis of 14N hyperfine interactions. Three types (referred to as VO-P1, VO-P2 and VO-P3) are present in natural bitumen from the Dead Sea, among which VO-P1 and VO-P2 are also present in black coatings of mummies. The absence of VO-P3 in mummies, which is replaced by another complex VO-P4, may be due to its transformation during preparation of the black matter for embalming. Analysis of 1H hyperfine interaction shows that bitumen and other natural substances are intimately mixed in these black coatings, with aggregate sizes of bitumen increasing with the bitumen content, but not exceeding a few nanometres.

Charles Emmanuel Dutoit et al.

Status: closed

Comment types: AC – author | RC – referee | CC – community | EC – editor | CEC – chief editor | : Report abuse
  • RC1: 'Comment on mr-2022-10', Anonymous Referee #1, 01 Jun 2022
    • AC1: 'Reply on RC1', Didier Gourier, 05 Jun 2022
  • RC2: 'Comment on mr-2022-10', Anonymous Referee #2, 06 Jun 2022
    • AC2: 'Reply on RC2', Didier Gourier, 15 Jun 2022

Status: closed

Comment types: AC – author | RC – referee | CC – community | EC – editor | CEC – chief editor | : Report abuse
  • RC1: 'Comment on mr-2022-10', Anonymous Referee #1, 01 Jun 2022
    • AC1: 'Reply on RC1', Didier Gourier, 05 Jun 2022
  • RC2: 'Comment on mr-2022-10', Anonymous Referee #2, 06 Jun 2022
    • AC2: 'Reply on RC2', Didier Gourier, 15 Jun 2022

Charles Emmanuel Dutoit et al.

Charles Emmanuel Dutoit et al.

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Short summary
Egyptian mummies were covered with an enigmatic black organic matter. Its chemical composition is classically determined by molecular analysis methods, which are destructive by nature. In a new analytical approach based on 1H and 14N magnetic resonance, we use V4+ ions, existing at trace level in this black matter, as an internal paramagnetic probes for a non-destructive exploration of the material. The results suggest that a common recipe was used for animal and human mummies of different ages.