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Research article2019Peer reviewed

Characterization of building materials by means of spectral remote sensing: The example of Carcassonne's defensive wall (Aude, France)

Sciuto, C.; Allios, D.; Bendoula, R.; Cocoual, A.; Gardel, M-E; Geladi, P.; Gobrecht, A.; Gorretta, N.; Guermeur, N.; Jay, S.; Linderholm, J.; Thyrel, M.


Geological and archaeological analysis of stone masonries in standing structures helps reveal information about use of natural resources. At the same time, the study of historical materials is useful for conservators and cultural heritage management. Geochemical and petrographic analysis of building material types is usually done through destructive analysis on a few selected samples and can be problematic due to the costs of operations and the size of buildings themselves. This paper demonstrates that the combination of hyperspectral imaging portable Near Infrared (NIR) spectroscopy and Energy Dispersive X-ray Fluorescence (ED-XRF) spectroscopy can be useful for analysing types of raw materials used in distinct construction phases of the inner defensive wall in the citadel of Carcassonne (Aude, France). Stratigraphic analysis of the architecture, short-range spectral remote sensing and portable ED-XRF measurements were combined in an interdisciplinary approach to classify sandstone elements. The experimental protocol for in situ non-destructive analysis and classification of the masonry types allows the investigation of the monument in a diachronic perspective, collecting information to delineate raw materials varieties and their use or re-use through time.


Hyperspectral imaging; Portable NIR; ED-XRF; Multivariate statistics; Provenance of building materials; Buildings archaeology; Historical monuments

Published in

Journal of Archaeological Science
2019, Volume: 23, pages: 396-405