Investigation of lime mortars and plasters from archaeological excavations in Hippos (Israel) using Electron Paramagnetic Resonance

Zuzanna Kabacińska 1 , Ryszard Krzyminiewski 1 , Danuta Michalska 2 , and Bernadeta Dobosz 1
  • 1 Medical Physics Division, Faculty of Physics, Adam Mickiewicz University, Umultowska 85, 61-614, Poznań, Poland
  • 2 Department of Dynamic and Regional Geology, Institute of Geology, Faculty of Geographical and Geological Sciences, Adam Mickiewicz University, Maków Polnych 16, 61-606, Poznań, Poland


This study presents the preliminary results of investigation of the lime mortars and plasters from archaeological excavations in Hippos (Israel), using Electron Paramagnetic Resonance (EPR) spectroscopy. The research was conducted in order to characterize the building material and its reaction to ionizing radiation. The ancient settlement Hippos, situated on the east shore of the Sea of Galilee, functioned from the 3rd cent. BC until it was destroyed by the earthquake in 749 AD. Lime mortars and plasters show carbonate and locally gypsum character of binder and different kind of aggregate. Samples were γ-irradiated and measured using X-band EPR spectrometer. Computer Resolution Enhancement Method was applied to the complex spectra. Some of the γ-induced EPR signals were attributed to CO2 − and CO3 3− paramagnetic centres. Exponential growth of the dose response curve above 1 kGy and saturation for doses above 20 kGy was observed. For doses lower than 1 kGy the dose response curve has a linear character. The presence of γ-sensitive carbonate paramagnetic centres could indicate that, after further studies, well-chosen samples of mortars and plasters might be suitable for EPR dating, assuming the centres have been sufficiently bleached during the manufacturing process.

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