|Figure 3. Experimental setup: portable EDXRF spectrometer.|
Parpalló Cave (Gandía, Spain) is one of the most important Palaeolithic sites in the Spanish Mediterranean region. It is characterised by a mobiliary art whose archaeological sequence covers a dilated period (26.000 – 11.000 BP) and includes plaquettes decorated with black and different shades of red and yellow pigments. The aim of this paper is to present the results of analyses of the nature of black pigments used in the decoration of Parpalló plaquettes. The analyses were carried out by a non-destructive technique, by means of EDXRF. Furthermore, a colorimetric data bank has been created for conservation purposes. EDXRF measurements directly identify the use of manganese black pigments and indirectly the use of wooden charcoal based black pigments, in both zoomorphic motifs and undefined signs. No differentiation between manganese and non-manganese based black pigments was found from colorimetric measurements, but the data obtained will prove to be a useful reference for further studies as pigments fade with time.