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Portrait of an Ancient Woman Uncovered by New X-Ray Technology

November 9 6:30 PM – 8:00 PM

Lecture by Professor Eleonora Del Federico, Department of Math and Science

This lecture will discuss Pratt’s latest study of a painting at Herculaneum, buried by the eruption of Vesuvius in 79 BCE. The study revealed that novel X-ray technology (Macro-XRF) can see through the degraded surface of the wall painting, and reconstruct how it would have looked as sketched by the ancient artist 2,000 years ago. This study is key to “bringing back to life” countless wall paintings which are to-date considered lost because of being too degraded to be appreciated with the naked eye.

This study has taken place in the context of the Herculaneum Conservation Project’s collaborative program for scientific research and site trials that address the conservation challenges at the archaeological site of Herculaneum, Italy.

Pratt thanks the support of XGlab, the Camille and Henry Dreyfus Foundation, the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation, the Izchak Friedman endowed scholarship, the Stockman Family Foundation, and the SLAS Dean Research Fund.