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Web Date: December 27, 2016

Lost color revealed on Ancient Greek marble

New X-ray fluorescence technique maps trace remnants of green pigment on a sculpture depicting the Trojan War
Department: Science & Technology
Keywords: art & artifacts, Ancient Greece, Medusa, pigments

One of the archaeological delights found in the ancient Greek city of Delphi is the frieze of the Siphnian Treasury, built in 525 B.C. It depicts scenes from the Trojan War, including a sculpture of the hero Achilles wielding a shield decorated with the head of the monster Medusa.

Nowadays, the monster’s hair—like the rest of the frieze—is the mottled brown color of ancient marble, but it wasn’t always so. Medusa’s tresses were once painted . . .

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Chemical & Engineering News
ISSN 0009-2347
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