Amphora dating

This meant that not one of the individual components in the bitumen sample--and there are tens of thousands of them--escaped their attention.They also determined the elemental composition of the constituents.

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Similar artifacts have been found dating to the middle of the sixth century B. More ancient are the hundred or so fragments of pottery, bucchero and ceramics of various manufacture, which are in some cases painted and come from the the Regolini-Galassi tumulus complex in Cerveteri.Elemental analysis of the Taman sample indicated an oxygen (O) content of 11%, as opposed to 1% or less in fresh petroleum samples, with the other elements--carbon (C), hydrogen (H), nitrogen (N), and sulfur (S)--present in the normal amounts.This indicates that the sample had been degrading for a long time within the amphora; apparently it had been there for 2,500 years.Bitumen is a form of petroleum found in natural deposits. The word 'mummy', for example, derives from the Persian 'mum', or 'bitumen', because this substance was used in embalming.The Greeks used bitumen in construction, medicine, and warfare--it is possible that the legendary 'Greek fire' was based on bitumen.

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