29 June 2007 Archaeophotonics in Optics and Photonics News

Cover of the issue of Optics and Photonic News

Roman village of Iesso (Guissona)

ICFO researchers recover written information on
Roman relics and solve a 2000-year-old mystery.
The research, which appears as the July’s cover page of Optics and Photonics News, was carried out by the group of Pablo Loza-Alvarez at ICFO in collaboration with David Artigas from Universitat Politècnica de Catalunya and Josep Guitart, Joaquim Pera , and Josep Ros from the Institut Català d’Arqueologia Clàssica.

In this work, two-photon absorption fluorescence is used as a non-destructive method to detect the presence of paint upon an archaeological sample. The researchers aimed at recovering writing that, due to the discoloration caused by the passage of the time, was barely readable. The technique has been successfully applied to determine the consular date painted upon the neck of a Dressel 1A amphora found in the Roman village of Iesso (Guissona), in Catalonia. The identification of the consular date provides a terminus post quem for the foundation date for the city as well as a starting date for the Roman colonization of Hispania Citerior.

The Ultrafast Imaging and Nonlinear Microscopy group at ICFO, led by Prof. Pablo Loza-Alvarez covers different research topics, ranging from Archaeo-photonics to the development of ultrafast laser sources, with special focus in biological applications and novel interactions between ultrashort pulse sources and living cells.