Usually, only traces of the original polychromy (i.e. paint grounds, binders, pigments) of Greek and Roman marble sculptures remain and analytical approaches are often limited to qualitative characterization. Well-established approaches include non-destructive spectral analysis, semi-quantitative elemental mapping by pXRF, phase analysis by Raman spectroscopy, or techniques that require cutting sample chips (e.g. SEM-EDS).
The provenance analysis of pigments also requires sample chips/scrapings for element and isotope analysis by mass spectrometry. However, keeping the impact of sampling to a minimum is key for preserving as much of the ancient polychromy as possible.
To reduce sample quantity, without compromising the quality of the results, the objectives of SAnPol are twofold: First, test a new technique for low-impact sampling; then, evaluate pigment provenance by matching the geochemical information of pigments with known ore deposits.