Progetto comune di ricerca

Diagnostica non-invasiva in-situ di antichi manoscritti della "Biblioteca Nazionale del Regno del Marocco": scambio di esperienze per lo sviluppo di protocolli analitici con strumentazione portatile.

Responsabili di progetto
Susanna Bracci, Mustapha Haddad
MAROCCO - CNRST - Centre National pour la Recherche Scientifique et Technique
CNR/CNRST 2016-2017
Scienze umane e sociali, patrimonio culturale
Area tematica
Scienze umane e sociali, patrimonio culturale
Stato del progetto

Proposta di ricerca

The chemical-physical study of the material constituting the ancient manuscripts and of their state of conservation is essential to their understanding, conservation and fruition. Libraries, museums, curators, restorers, collectors and antique dealers are more and more often inclined to a scientific approach to investigate artefacts. In particular, the development of portable and non-invasive techniques allowed studying artwork's materials and their state of conservation without any extensive sampling. However, sometimes sampling represents the only way to get a univocal identification of materials.
The Institute for Conservation and Valorization of Cultural Heritage (ICVBC-CNR) has a consolidate experience on the scientific approach based on both non-invasive and micro-invasive techniques to characterize materials constituting works of art. The integrated use of several analytical techniques makes it possible to address, optimize and reduce the sampling to obtain the needed information.
The project aims to address some analytical issues concerning the study of manuscripts from the Arab-Muslim area. The proposal focuses on the definition of integrated protocols based on the use of non-invasive portable analytical techniques available in the labs of the Italian and Moroccan research groups to characterize inks, pigments, binders and the state of preservation of manuscripts belonging to the valuable Moroccan library collections.
The project will be carried out in collaboration with the Laboratoire de Matériaux et des Spectrometrie Archéomatériaux (LASMAR) Moulay Ismail University in Meknes, associated with CNRST.
The LASMAR research team is currently setting up and implement a mobile laboratory to study of cultural heritage in Morocco. The laboratory is the first infrastructure with portable and high-tech instrumentation at disposal in North Africa and in South of Mediterranean sea.
The bilateral project aims to the exchange of expertise between the partners and a joint effort to setting up analytical protocols with portable and non-invasive instrumentation.
The main objective of the first project's step is the creation of a spectral database of reference materials. The creation of a spectral archive for each analytical technique employed is expected and it will be obtained with reference standards most of them specifically prepared by Moroccan partners. The reference standards have been prepared according to traditional recipes and using dyes, colorants and pigments traditionally found in illuminated manuscripts.
The contribution of ICVBC-CNR consists on the analysis of the materials that will be made accessible both on historical samples (if available) and on reference materials.
The analytical protocol will be tuned up on spectroscopic techniques traditionally used for in situ analysis such as Fourier Transform Infrared Spectroscopy (FT-IR), Raman Spectroscopy, Reflectance Spectroscopy (FORS) and X-ray fluorescence (XRF). The study will be performed by means of micro-invasive techniques as well, for a more complete characterization of the composition of the materials (high-performance liquid chromatography HPLC with spectrophotometric or mass detectors).
In the second phase of the project, after the definition of good investigative practices, the defined multi-analytical protocol will be applied on some original manuscripts housed in Moroccan Institutions responsible for the preservation of the heritage library. Measurement campaigns are planned at the Bibliotheque National du Royaume du Maroc in Rabat, at the library Benyoussef Medersa in Marrakech and at the great Library of Meknes. Moroccan partner, involving an art historian in the team, will do the selection of manuscripts to be analyzed.
During the stay, foreign partners will be able to work with the equipment made available by the two laboratories. In particular, for Moroccans researchers visiting the ICVBC it will be possible to characterize the reference materials or possibly micro-samples.
Conversely, during the visits of Italian researchers in Morocco, is expected to integrate the analytical protocol using portable non-invasive instrumentation not available in LASMAR mobile lab.
Particularly, an important support to the study and characterization of the illuminated manuscripts could be provided by imaging techniques. ICVBC has a consolidated experience with the latter, such as UV fluorescence, IR reflectography, induced luminescence (VIL), false color infrared (IRfc). In addition ICVBC could provide portable Raman spectroscopy equipped with IR sources (785 and 1064 nm), widely used for the study of ancient manuscripts due to its high spatial resolution and ability to discriminate the different molecular species.
The integration of the results obtained in a total non-invasive way can provide information on the materials used to create manuscripts allowing the identification of possible correlations between the artworks from different collections. Moreover, the evaluation of the state of conservation and the identification of degradation phenomena, could give important information for a correct restoration of the works of art suggesting the best conservation conditions.

Obiettivi della ricerca

The main aim of the present bilateral program is the exchange of expertise for the use of the non-invasive and portable techniques owned by the two partners. The protocols developed will allow the characterization of the employed materials (inks, colorants and pigments) as well as a deep insight into the conservation state of the manuscripts belonging to important institutions in Maroc
The study will be carried out starting from the set-up of a spectral library for each technique provided by the portable laboratory LASMAR, based on reference materials already owned by the two partners or specifically prepared by the Moroccan partner. The analytical protocols, based on the instrumentation of the LASMAR laboratory will be integrated using imaging techniques (UV, VIS, IR, VIL, IRfc) and Raman spectroscopy, provided by the ICVBC laboratory. Special attention will be paid to: i) identification of the ink type, ii) evaluation of the paper yellowing degree, iii) identification of painted materials (pigments and colorants). A comparative study with contemporary Italian manuscripts belonging to national museums and libraries will be also performed. The outcomes will positively influence manuscripts conservation and will provide a deep insight into the archaeometric knowledge of the materials in those critical points where there is still a lack of information. Moreover, the data obtained about pigments, colorants and inks will support the identification of possible counterfeits.

Ultimo aggiornamento: 11/12/2023