This excellent new book offers a discussion on radioactivity and its use in dating and studying works of art.
The book is divided into two parts, namely: Part 1 including the early history of radioactivity (natural and artificial), the origins and properties of the various types of radiation emitted by radioactive nuclides, the decay processes, the interactions of radiations with matter, the radiation detection and measurement, and the absolute dating based on radioactivity, chiefly radiocarbon and luminescence methods (TL and OSL); Part 2 presenting various examples of the use of those methods for dating Paleolithic art on rocks and walls (portable art, cave paintings, engravings and clay sculptures) and authenticating works of art (paintings, ceramics and metal works), as well as examples of the use of neutrons for investigating old-master paintings by means of autoradiography and for measuring the material composition of works of art (e.g., Sassanid silver objects and Medieval limestone sculptures) by activation analysis with a view to determine their provenance.
Though the first part of the book is scientific and technical, the second part may be read by everyone interested in History of Art, no matter the extent of their knowledge in mathematics and physical chemistry.
The author, João M. Peixoto Cabral, Ph.D. from the Universidade Técnica de Lisboa, was head of the Chemistry Department of the Instituto Tecnológico e Nuclear, Sacavém, Portugal, and invited professor at Instituto Superior Técnico where he lectured Radiochemistry for three decades. One of his scientific interests has been in Archaeometry, area in which he developed several projects in cooperation with archaeologists, art historians and experts in Monetary History.
The book (in Portuguese) was edited in May 2011 by IST Press, Instituto Superior Técnico, Av. Rovisco Pais, 1049-001 Lisboa, Portugal, www.istpress.ist.utl.pt.