A comparative analysis of paints on the karakol burial slabs

A. S. Pakhunov, E. G. Devlet, V. I. Molodin, B. V. Lazin, I. A. Karateev, P. V. Dorovatovsky, A. A. Kaloyan, K. M. Podurets, R. A. Senin, A. E. Blagov, E. B. Yatsishina

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Citation (Scopus)

Abstract

We have analyzed paintings on six stone slabs from Bronze Age burial sites of the Karakol culture in the Altai, Karakol, and Ozernoye. Most represent anthropomorphic fi gures, depicted in a mixed technique including pecking, engraving, abrasion, and painting in various combinations. Paintings are superimposed on previously made petroglyphs, which had not initially been painted. Samples of paint were analyzed using optical microscopy, scanning electron microscopy with X-ray spectrometry, and synchrotron powder X-ray diffraction. Results make it possible to differentiate, using the instrumental analysis, intentional painting from natural coloration. The composition of pigments suggests that both the images and the contouring lines were made with one and the same red paint. However, while the pigment's composition is homogeneous in each burial, it differs between the burials. Paint was found not only on slabs but on human bones as well, with its color varying from light red to black. Further analysis will hopefully shed light on the Karakol burial rite.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)56-68
Number of pages13
JournalArchaeology, Ethnology and Anthropology of Eurasia
Volume45
Issue number3
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2017

Keywords

  • Altai
  • Bronze Age
  • Karakol culture
  • Paintings
  • Petroglyphs
  • Pigments
  • Prehistoric art

OECD FOS+WOS

  • 6.01.BI ARCHAEOLOGY
  • 5.09.EN CULTURAL STUDIES
  • 5.04.BF ANTHROPOLOGY

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