Molecular and Structural Archaeology
Recent progress in the analysis and structural characterisation of materials has an increasing impact on studies of archaeological specimens. A need to embody such research into a new interdisciplinary field has appeared. In this ARW we intended to bring together archaeologists and historians with physicists, chemists, crystallographers and pharmacists, around the theme of structural information on complex archaeological materials. Within this vast area, the ARW has mainly focused on cosmetic-therapeutic chemicals. The objectives of this NATO ARW were twofold: - Delineating the contour of molecular and structural archaeology as an emerging interdisciplinary field based on structural analysis at the molecular level. - Examining novel methodologies to reconstruct the scenario of synthesis and transformation in the long term of compounds used in antiquity for health and beauty. The strong interdisciplinarity of this meeting has been greatly favoured by the NATO ARW organisation allowing the mixing of different fields and disciplines with convergent general goals. This Workshop has shown that the molecular and structural sensibility is a powerful tool towards the setting, and often the solution, of difficult archaeological and historical problems. Ten different nationalities (Europe, Egypt, USA) were represented in the ARW, and this mixing has contributed to the large range of subjects and archaeological contexts. Thus, a mutual interaction between Archaeology and Physical Sciences is expected. The most obvious part is associated with extended use of any possible technique and method to get as much information about the archaeological samples as possible.