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Egyptian Blue Pigment Recovered From Romanesque Altarpiece

By Cara

An Egyptian blue pigment has been discovered at the in a Romanesque altarpiece in the church of Sant Pere de Terrassa, Barcelona.

The blue pigment, was used only till the end of the Roman Empire (476 AD). What quizzed the archaeologists was that the colour that was found was found in a 12th century church.

"We carried out a systematic study of the pigments used in the altarpiece during restoration work on the church. We were completely unprepared for Egyptian blue to turn up during the restoration," said Mario Vendrell, Geologist.

Chemical and microscopic analysis was done to confirm that the pigment was indeed blue and is made of copper silicate and calcium.

However, the geologist are unable to find out how the pigment ended up in a church of the Medieval times. It has never been found in any of the murals from the era.

The church was build upon ancient Iberian and Roman settlements, and the precious blue pigment could have remained hidden underground for many centuries. It is possible that the builders have found it and decided to use it in the paintings.

Read more about: archaeology history
Story first published: Thursday, May 6, 2010, 16:12 [IST]
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