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Composition analysis of writing materials in Geniza fragments

  • The Cairo Geniza is an “archive” discovered in the 19th century in Ben Ezra Synagogue in Fustat, a district in Old Cairo (Egypt), located south of the center of modern Cairo. The giant collection of mostly Jewish documents that vary in genres, languages and writing supports contains a large number of early medieval Hebrew manuscripts, mostly in fragmentary form. The larger part of the Cairo Geniza is stored today in the Cambridge University Library (CUL). The Geniza provides sources for the literary, linguistic, historical studies of the various aspects Jewish life. As the documents attest, at least two Jewish communities co-existed in Fustat up to 11th century: a so-called Babylonian and Palestinian. These communities had different leaders, different traditions and lived independently. The differences seem to manifest themselves also in the paleographical, codicological and some material properties of the manuscripts produced by each community. The aim of this project is to compareThe Cairo Geniza is an “archive” discovered in the 19th century in Ben Ezra Synagogue in Fustat, a district in Old Cairo (Egypt), located south of the center of modern Cairo. The giant collection of mostly Jewish documents that vary in genres, languages and writing supports contains a large number of early medieval Hebrew manuscripts, mostly in fragmentary form. The larger part of the Cairo Geniza is stored today in the Cambridge University Library (CUL). The Geniza provides sources for the literary, linguistic, historical studies of the various aspects Jewish life. As the documents attest, at least two Jewish communities co-existed in Fustat up to 11th century: a so-called Babylonian and Palestinian. These communities had different leaders, different traditions and lived independently. The differences seem to manifest themselves also in the paleographical, codicological and some material properties of the manuscripts produced by each community. The aim of this project is to compare the inks used in the Jewish documents depending on different variables: support (paper, parchment), purpose of the manuscript (legal, private, religious), provenance of the scribe. For the determination of the inks type and composition we had to choose non-invasive, non-destructive and portable techniques to analyse the corpus directly in the CUL. The analyses were carried out with a mobile energy dispersive micro-X-ray spectrometer ArtTAX® (Bruker GmbH, Berlin, Germany), which consists of an air-cooled, low-power molybdenum tube, polycapillary X-ray optics (measuring spot size 70 µm in diameter), an electrothermally cooled Xflash detector, and a CCD camera for sample positioning (Bronk et al 2001, Hahn et al. 2010). All measurements are executed using a 30 W low-power Mo tube, 50 kV, 600 µA Mo tube, and with an acquisition time of 15 s (live time) to minimize the risk of damage (Fig. 1, 2). Fig. 1: XRF spectrometer probe above a manuscript fragment Fig. 2: Typical element profile of a XRF linescan The Dino Lite digital stereomicroscope (Fig. 3) features built-in LED illumination at 395 nm and 940 nm and a customized external white light source. During use, the microscope is fastened to a small tripod or mounted on a Plexiglas ring holder that incorporates a white light source. Fig. 3: Dino Lite digital stereomicroscope Fig. 4: Details of one fragment (T-S 16.124) observed with the Dino microscope (x20). On the left, when illuminated with NIR (Near-Infrared, 940 nm) light, the ink fades, indicating iron-gall ink. On the right, the image under NIR light does not change. It is carbon ink. On example of these studies is the manuscript T-S 16.124 (Cambridge University Library, Fig. 5) whom belongs to the third corpus. It is a deed, written in Hebrew, dated from 1328 (= 1017 CE) and witnessed by a very high number of people (6) comparing to the standard of similar documents (between 2 and 3), from at least two different Jewish communities in Fustat (trans congregational). The verso is written in Arabic (Bareket 1999). Fig. 5: Manuscript T-S 16.124 (Cambridge University Library) To compare the inks, we used the fingerprint model. This method relies on the determination of characteristic elemental compositions and represents the amount of a minor constituent relative to the main component, iron in iron gall ink (Malzer et al. 2004, Hahn et al. 2004, Rabin et al 2014). However, a calculation of a fingerprint based on XRF measurements is not possible in the case of carbon ink since carbon, its main component, cannot be detected with this technique. Fig. 6: Ink fingerprint T-S 16-124 (recto) normalized to iron (Fe) Conclusion We show that using reflectography and XRF analysis it is possible to sort the inks according to their type. In the case of the iron-gall inks, use of the ink fingerprint, i.e. amount of the vitriol components normalized to iron we can make direct comparisons of the ink composition. We would like also to stress that though the methods of material analysis listed above have been successfully employed in the field of cultural heritage and conservation including ancient and medieval manuscripts they have not yet been used to study fragments from the Cairo Genizah. Therefore, we believe that this research project is a pioneering study that will provide new insights into the history of Hebrew writing materials, their production techniques and materials and, thus, contribute new data to the field of Hebrew paleography.zeige mehrzeige weniger

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  • 2018.02 Archaeometry - Ink analysis in Cairo Geniza fragments.pdf
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Metadaten
Autoren/innen:Zina Cohen
Koautoren/innen:Olivier Bonnerot, J. Schlanger, Oliver Hahn, Ira Rabin
Dokumenttyp:Posterpräsentation
Veröffentlichungsform:Präsentation
Sprache:Englisch
Jahr der Erstveröffentlichung:2018
Organisationseinheit der BAM:4 Material und Umwelt
4 Material und Umwelt / 4.5 Kunst- und Kulturgutanalyse
DDC-Klassifikation:Naturwissenschaften und Mathematik / Chemie / Analytische Chemie
Freie Schlagwörter:Ink; Manuscript; XRF Analysis
Themenfelder/Aktivitätsfelder der BAM:Analytical Sciences
Analytical Sciences / Zerstörungsfreie Prüfung und Spektroskopie
Veranstaltung:Konferenz DESY “Archäometrie und Denkmalpflege 2018”
Veranstaltungsort:Hamburg, Germany
Beginndatum der Veranstaltung:20.03.2018
Enddatum der Veranstaltung:24.03.2018
Verfügbarkeit des Volltexts:Volltext-PDF im Netzwerk der BAM verfügbar ("Closed Access")
Datum der Freischaltung:26.09.2018
Referierte Publikation:Nein