Organic Mass Spectrometry in Art and Archaeology
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More About This Title Organic Mass Spectrometry in Art and Archaeology


  • Offers an overview of the analysis of art and archaeological materials using techniques based on mass spectrometry
  • Illustrates basic principles, procedures and applications of mass spectrometric techniques.
  • Fills a gap in the field of application on destructive methods in the analysis of museum objects
  • Edited by a world-wide respected specialists with extensive experience of the GC/MS analysis of art objects
  • Such a handbook has been long-awaited by scientists, restorers and other experts in the analysis of art objects


Maria Perla Colombini is Professor of Analytical Chemistry at the Department of Chemistry of the University of Pisa. Her teaching activities are related to courses in analytical chemistry and the chemistry of cultural heritage. Her research is related to the development of analytical procedures based on spectroscopic and chromatographic techniques for the characterisation of micropollutants in the environment and of organic materials and their degradation products in works of art and archaeological objects. She is leader/participant of several national and international research projects for the safeguard of Cultural Heritage and coordinates the research group of the Laboratory of Chemical Sciences for the Safeguard of Cultural Heritage. She is a member of the staff of the Chemistry of Environment and Cultural Heritage of the Italian Chemical Society (SCI). Her research has resulted in over 150 publications in refereed journals and books, and in over 200 lectures at national and international congresses.

Francesca Modugno is a Lecturer in Analytical Chemistry at the University of Pisa, Italy. After graduation cum laude in Analytical Chemistry in 1997, she received her PhD in Chemical Science from University of Pisa in 2001. She teaches analytical chemistry and chemometrics and her research in the Laboratory of Chemical Science for the Safeguard of Cultural Heritage, at the Department of Chemistry of University of Pisa, deals with the application of analytical methods based on chromatography and mass spectrometry to the characterisation and the study of the degradation of organic natural materials in historical and artistic objects, with specific attention to lipids, proteins, terpenic resins and natural waxes. She has published approximately 18 papers in the last six years.


List of Contributors.




1 Organic Materials in Art and Archaeology (Maria Perla Colombini and Francesca Modugno).

2 Overview of Mass Spectrometric Based Techniques Applied in the Cultural Heritage Field (Gianluca Giorgi).


3 Direct Mass Spectrometric Techniques: Versatile Tools to Characterise Resinous Materials (Erika Ribechini).

4 Direct Mass Spectrometry to Characterise Wax and Lipid Materials (Martine Regert).

5 GALDI-MS Applied to Characterise Natural Varnishes and Binders (Patrick Dietemann and Christoph Herm).

6 MALDI-MS Applied to the Analysis of Protein Paint Binders (Stepanka Kuckova, Radovan Hynek and MilanKodicek).


7 GC/MS in the Characterization of Lipids (Maria Perla Colombini, Francesca Modugno and Erika Ribechini).

8 GC/MS in the Characterisation of Resinous Materials (Francesca Modugno and Erika Ribechini).

9 GC/MS in the Characterisation of Protein Paint Binders (Maria Perla Colombini and Gwenae¨lle Gautier).

10 SPME/GC-MS in the Characterisation of Terpenic Resins (Jean Bleton and Alain Tchapla).

11 Py-GC/MS of Organic Paint Binders (Ilaria Bonaduce and Alessia Andreotti).

12 Py-GC/MS of Natural and Synthetic Resins (Dominique Scalarone and Oscar Chiantore).


13 Characterization of Organic Natural Dyes by Electrospray Mass Spectrometry Coupled with HPLC and/or Capillary Electrophoresis (Katarzyna Lech, Katarzyna Połec´-Pawlak and Maciej Jarosz).


14 Compound-specific Stable Isotopes in Organic Residue Analysis in Archaeology (Richard P. Evershed).

15 ToF-SIMS Study of Organic Materials in Cultural Heritage: Identification and Chemical Imaging (Vincent Mazel and Pascale Richardin).

16 Accelerator Mass Spectrometry for 14C Dating (Mariaelena Fedi).



"Nevertheless, this book provides a great overview both for students and beginning scholars in conservation science.  It will function as a book of reference for experienced conservation scientists." (Anal Bioanal Chem, 2010)

"Minor criticisms aside, this is a really useful sourcebook and should be consulted by everyone working in the field." (Chromatographia, November 2010)

"Overall, I can recommend this book to those who wish to learn how organic mass spectrometric techniques can help unravel very old but also very interesting and relevant mysteries. In particular, I think all archaeometry researchers who are unfamiliar with these techniques will be pleasantly surprised by the current opportunities offered by MS (e.g., TOF-SIMS can provide direct imaging information from a solid sample), and they may discover new ways to enhance or complement their current research." (American Society for Mass Spectrometry, 2011)

"The book is an extensive source of information with numerous case studies and examples illustrating how MS can be used to reveal the history of objects". (Materials World, 1 October 2010)"

Contributors discuss organic compounds and analytical techniques at an undergraduate level with multiple easy-toreference tables and charts. In addition, all chapters include extensive bibliographies for supplementary information at both introductory and advanced levels." (CHOICE, 2010)