Archaeology of the invisible: Unveiling content of sealed vessels from grave goods of Kha and Merit.
Greco C., Aliotta F., Arcidiacono L., Borla M., Di Martino D., Facchetti F., Ferraris E., Festa G., Gorini G., Kelleher J., Micieli D., Minniti T., Perelli Cippo E., Ponterio R., Salvato G., Senesi R., Turina V., Vasi C., Kockelmann W., Andreani C.
This work presents the first neutron investigation on sealed ceramic and alabaster vessels performed at the ISIS Spallation Neutron Source. These objects are part of the grave goods of Kha and Merit, studied within the ARKHA (ARchaeology of the invisible: unveiling the grave goods of KHA) project which has the objective of characterizing the artefacts through the use of non-invasive and non-destructive chemical and physical techniques, using light and neutron probes. The investigated collection is part of "the director of works" Kha and his wife Merit: it represents the richest and most complete non-royal burial assemblage (1425--1353 BC) housed in a museum outside of Egypt and includes alabasters and sealed pottery containers, metallic vessels, wooden boxes and chests, food and wine containers, containers of oil, powders and precious perfumes. The project combines competences of interdisciplinary teams of scientists, $i.e.$ curators, conservators, archaeologists, egyptologists, chemists and physicists. Here we present results of the morphological reconstruction of the inner part of the vases ---obtained via neutron radiography and tomography--- and the elemental and phase analysis obtained via PGAA and neutron diffraction performed on the new Imaging and Materials Science and Engineering (IMAT) beamline and neutron diffraction studies performed on ENGIN-X beamline, both located at the pulsed neutron spallation source ISIS, Rutherford Appleton Laboratory, UK.