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Highlights Cultural Heritage

ANSTO offers a wide range of unique nuclear-beam techniques to look at the structure and dynamics of materials from the atomic to the macroscopic scale providing complementary information. These powerful and versatile tools are superb probes to be used in tandem with traditional methods to extract maximum information from an object without the need for sampling or invasive procedures.


Media releases

Earliest evidence of Aboriginal occupation of Australian coast discovered The Guardian 

Sidney Nolan: Australian Synchrotron helps reveal the man behind the Ned Kelly mask The Sydney Morning Herald

Development of new techniques makes it possible to date Australian Aboriginal rock art ANSTO

Dingo sees through heavy corrosion to help identify a firearm getSTEM - ANSTO

A hidden portrait by Edgar Degas Nature - The GuardianABC

Aboriginal ochre fingerprinting helping researches traces ancient Indigenous trade routes ABC - ANSTO

Seeing inside an ancient Australian Indigenous artefact non-invasively Neutronsources - ANSTO

The world's first recorded opalised pearls ABC - ANSTOAdelaide now 

Unlocking the secrets of ancient Greek coins Archaeology - Baring the aegis - ANSTO - ANSTO - ANSTO - Macquarie Matters - Macquaire Edu

Neutron scattering helping conserve the world’s great historic monuments ANSTO

Geological technique adapted to analyse Aboriginal Australian objects Chemistry World

Chemical archaeology: On the trail of aboriginal ochre Chemistry in Australia

Frederick painting The North Wind AICCM

First Fleet paintings: Early drawings reveal their secrets ANSTO - Labonline

The Great Melbourne Telescope AICCM

Ochre’s x-ray fingerprints ANSTO

Modern science lays bare old platter's secrets SMH - ANSTO

Rodin’s The thinker NGV

Hidden art revealed Science in public

Synchrotron reveals details of artist's cover-up ANSTO


Australian Archaeological Association 2017
06 – 08 December 2017

Synergic applications of advanced Computed Tomographic methods in Archaeology by A. Maksimenko and F. Salvemini
Melbourne, Victoria  

The Beginnings of the Use of Metal and Alloys
16 – 19 October 2017
Samurai’s swords: a non-invasive investigation by neutron techniques by F. Salvemini
Busan, Korea  

Neutron Imaging and Neutron Methods in Archaeology and Cultural Heritage
11 – 13 October 2017
A multi-technique investigation of the incuse coinage of Magna Graecia by F. Salvemini
Budapest, Hungary  

8th International Topical Meeting on Neutron Radiography
04 – 08 September 2016
Archaeometric investigations on the neutron imaging station DINGO at ANSTO by F. Salvemini
Campus of Peking University in Beijing, China

Scientific Methods in Cultural Heritage Research - Gordon Research Conference
July 31 - August 5 2016
Ochre Journeys: Understanding Cultural Meanings and Technologies of Indigenous Ochre in Australia and Globally Through Analytical Methods by Rachel Popelka-Filcoff
Sunday River, Newry, ME

10th International Conference on Residual Stresses
03 – 07 July 2016
Structural characterization of ancient Japanese swords from MAAS using neutron strain scanning measurements by F. Salvemini
Novotel Hotel at Sydney Brighton, Bayside Plaza, Grand Parade, Brighton-Le-Sands, New South Wales

15 - 21 May 2016
Elucidation of cultural exchange by elemental characterisation of Australian Aboriginal pigments by Rachel Popelka-Filcoff

Laboratory of Archaeometry, University of the Peloponnese, Kalamata, Greece

Australia Archaeological Association - Annual Conference 2015
Session: Applied Archaeological Science (Part 1): Neutron techniques for Archaeology by Floriana Salvemini
2 – 5 December 2015
Esplanade Hotel, Marine Terrace, Fremantle, Western Australia

Asia-Oceania Conference on Neutron Scattering
Session: Neutron imaging and cultural heritage
    Neutron Texture and Tomographic Study of Ancient Greek Incuse Coin Production by Scott Olsen
    Neutron techniques for Cultural Heritage by Floriana Salvemini
19 – 23 July 2015
Novotel Sydney Manly Pacific, 55 North


Spectroscopic views into the past: Characterisation of Aboriginal Australian pigments at the South Australian Museum
Dr Rachel Popelka-Filcoff - AINSE Senior Research Fellow in the School of Chemical and Physical Sciences at Flinders University
Tuesday, 5 April at 6-7pm
Pacific Cultures Gallery, South Australian Museum, Adelaide, South Australia

Technical meetings

Investigating heritage materials with safer ion and photon beam experiments
IAEA Technical Meeting
07 - 10 December 2015
C2RMF, Palais du Louvre, Paris, France


Culture Up Late
Learn about palaeontology and archaeology with ANSTO’s neutron beam instrument scientist Dr Joseph Bevitt
11 Janaury 2017
Australian Museum, Sydney




Human occupation of northern Australia by 65,000 years ago, C. Clarkson, Z. Jacobs , B. Marwick, R. Fullagar, L. Wallis, M. Smith, R.G. Roberts, E. Hayes, K. Lowe, X. Carah, S.A. Florin, J. McNeil, D. Cox, L.J. Arnold, Q. Hua, J. Huntley, H.A. Brand, T. Manne, A. Fairbairn, J. Shulmeister, L. Lyle, M. Salinas, M. Page, K. Connell, G. Park, K. Norman, T. Murphy, C. Pardoe Nature 547 (2017) 306–310

Archaeometric investigations on the neutron imaging station DINGO at ANSTO, F. Salvemini, V. Luzin, F. Grazzi, S. Olsen, K. Sheedy, S. Gatenby, M.J. Kim, U. Garbe, 8th International Topical Meeting on Neutron Radiography, ITMNR-8, 4-8 September 2016, Beijing, China Physics Procedia, 88 (2017) 116-122

Combined application of imaging techniques for the characterization and authentication of ancient weapons, F. Salvemini, F. Grazzi, N. Kardjilov, F. Wieder, I. Manke, D. Edge, A. Williams, M. Zoppi. The European Physical Journal – Plus, (2017) 132: 228

Early human occupation of a maritime desert, Barrow Island, North-West Australia, P. Veth, I. Ward, T. Manne, S. Ulmc, K. Ditchfield, J. Dortch, F. Hook, F. Petchey, A. Hogg, D. Questiaux, M. Demuro, L. Arnold, N. Spooner, V. Levchenko, J. Skippington, C. Byrne, M. Basgall, D. Zeanah…P. Kendrick Quaternary Science Reviews, 168 (2017) 19-29

1500 Years of Pottery: Neutron Activation Analysis of Northern Chilean Domestic Ceramics from Caleta Vitor and Clay Samples from nearby valley, coast and highland contexts, C. A. Bland, A. L. Roberts, R. S. Popelka-Filcoff, C. M. Santoro, C. Carter, J. W. Bennett, A. Stopic Archaeometry (2017)

The Glory of Ancient Weapons and Armour: Neutron Imaging and Diffraction Methods  in Neutron Methods for Archaeology and Cultural Heritage, Editors Nikolay Kardjilov and Giulia Festa F. Salvemini, F. Grazzi, Springer International Publishing (2017)

Radiocarbon age constraints for a Pleistocene–Holocene transition rock art style: The Northern Running Figures of the East Alligator River region, western Arnhem Land, Australia T. Jones, V. A. Levchenko, P. L. King, U. Troitzsch, D. Wesley, A. A. Williams, A. Nayingull Journal of Archaeological Science: Reports 11 (2017) 80–89


Cultural innovation and megafauna interaction in the early settlement of arid Australia, G. Hamm, P. Mitchell, L. J. Arnold, G. J. Prideaux, Daniele Questiaux, N. A. Spooner, V. A. Levchenko, E. C. Foley, T. H. Worthy, B. Stephenson, V. Coulthard, C. Coulthard, S. Wilton, D. Johnston Nature 539 (2016) 280–283

A Non-Destructive Investigation of two Cypriot Bronze Age Knife Blades using Neutron Diffraction Residual Stress Analysis, C. Davey, D Saunders, V. Luzin, J. Bevitt, J. Webb, J. Donlon, M. Ionescu Materials Research Forum, Materials Research Proceedings 2, (2016), 515-520

Structural characterization of ancient Japanese swords from MAAS using neutron strain scanning measurements, F. Salvemini, V. Luzin, F. Grazzi, S. Gatenby, M.J. Kim Materials Research Forum, Materials Research Proceedings 2, (2016), 443-448

Embryotomy in the 19th Century of Central Italy, L. Capasso, M. Sciubba, Q. Hua, V. A. Levchenko, J. Viciano, R. D'Anastasio, F. Bertuch International Journal of Osteoarchaeology, 26 (2) (2016) 345–347

A Hidden Portrait by Edgar Degas, D. Thurrowgood, D. Paterson, M. D. de Jonge, R. Kirkham, S. Thurrowgood, D. L. Howard Scientific Reports 6, (2016) 29594

Neutron tomographic analysis: material characterization of silver and electrum coins from the 6th and 5th centuries B.C., F. Salvemini, S.R. Olsen, V. Luzin, U. Garbe, J. Davis, T. Knowles, K. Sheedy Materials Characterization 118 (2016) 175–185

Structural Characterization of Iron Meteorites through Neutron Tomography, S. Caporali, F. Grazzi, F. Salvemini, U. Garbe, S, Peetermans and G. Pratesi Minerals 6, 14 (2016)

3D visualisation and dating of an embedded chert artefact from Barrow Island, I. Ward, F. Salvemini, P. Veth Journal of Archaeological Science: Reports 7 (2016) 432–436

DINGO – the neutron imaging station at ANSTO: embracing material science, palaeontology, and cultural heritage, F. Salvemini; J. Bevitt; K.D. Liss; U. Garbe Neutron News, 27:2 (2016) 14-19


An incuse stater from the series ‘Sirinos/Pyxoes’, K. Sheedy, P. Munroe, F. Salvemini, V. Luzin, U. Garbe and S. Olsen Journal of the Numismatic Association of Australia, 26 (2015)

Mapping Henry: Synchrotron-sourced X-ray fluorescence mapping and ultra-high-definition scanning of an early Tudor portrait of Henry VIII, P. Dredge, S. Ives, D.L. Howard, K.M. Spiers, A. Yip, and S. Kenderdine, Applied Physics A (2015) 1-12

Microelemental characterisation of Aboriginal Australian natural Fe oxide pigments, R.S. Popelka-Filcoff, C.E. Lenehan, E. Lombi, E. Donner, D.L. Howard, M.D. de Jonge, D. Paterson, K. Walshe, and A. Pring Analitical Methods (2015) 7363-7380


Temperature Induced Internal Stress in Carrara Marble, V Luzin, D. Nikolayev, and S Siegesmund Mater. Sci. Forum 777 (2014) 148-154

Ceramics, trade, provenience and geology: Cyprus in the Late Bronze Age, P Grave, L Kealhofer, B Marsh, UD Schoop, J Seeher, JW Bennett, A Stopic Antiquity 88 (2014): 1180-1200

Investigation of historical dart poisons using synchrotron based infrared microscopy and spectroscopy, R.A. Goodall, L. Puskar, K. Fisher, E. McCartney, H. Privett Vibrational Spectroscopy 11 (2014) 78.

Near-infrared spectral analysis: a non-destructive mineral analysis of Aboriginal Australian objects, R. Popelka-Filcoff, A. Mauger, C. Lenehan, K. Walshe, and A. Pring, Analytical Methods 6(5) (2014) 1309-1316.

Sidney Nolan’s adventures in paint— an analytical study of the artist’s use of commercial paints in the 1940s and ’50s, Paula Dredge AICCM Bulletin Volume 34, 2014


Towards identification of traditional European and indigenous Australian paint binders using pyrolysis gas chromatography mass spectrometry, T. Reeves, R. Popelka-Filcoff and C. Lenehan, Analytica Chimica Acta,803 (2013) 194-203.


Beeswax as Dental Filling on a Neolithic Human Tooth, F. Bernardini, C. Tuniz, A. Coppa, L. Mancini, D. Dreossi, D. Eichert, G. Turco, M. Biasotto, F. Terrasi, N. De Cesare, Q. Hua, V. Levchenko Plos ONE, 7 (9) (2012) e44904

Establishing a basis for nuclear archaeometry in Australia using the 20 MW OPAL research reactor, J.W. Bennett, P. Grave, A. Stopic Journal of Radioanalytical and Nuclear Chemistry, 291 (2012) 13-17

High-Definition X-ray Fluorescence Elemental Mapping of Paintings, D.L. Howard, M.D. de Jonge, D. Lau, D. Hay, M. Varcoe-Cocks, C.G. Ryan, R. Kirkham, G. Moorhead, D. Paterson, and D. Thurrowgood, Anal. Chem. 84 (2012) 3278−3286

High-definition X-ray fluorescence elemental mapping of paintings, D.L. Howard, M.D. de Jonge, D. Lau, D. Hay, M. Varcoe-Cocks, C.G. Ryan, R. Kirkham, G. Moorhead, D. Paterson, D. Thurrowgood Anal Chem. 3; 84(7):3 (2012) 278-86

Characterisation of Ochre Sources in South Australia by Neutron Activation Analysis (NAA), R. Popelka-Filcoff, C.E. Lenehan, K.A. Walshe, J. Bennett, A. Stopic, P. Jones et al. Journal of the Anthropological Society of South Australia 35 (2012) 81-90.

Evaluation of Relative Comparator and k0-NAA for Characterization of Aboriginal Australian Ochre, R. Popelka-Filcoff, C.E. Lenehan, M. Glascock, J. Bennett, A. Stopic, J. Quinton et al. Journal of Radioanalytical and Nuclear Chemistry 291(1) (2012) 19-24

Metal stearate distributions in modern artists??? oil paints: surface and cross-sectional investigation of reference paint films using conventional and synchrotron infrared microspectroscopy, G. Osmond, J.J. Boon, L. Puskar, and J. Drennan Applied Spectroscopy 66(10) (2012) 1136-1144


Who’s that lying in my coffin? An imposter exposed by 14C dating, K. Sowada, G.E. Jacobsen, F. Bertuch, T. Palmer and A. Jenkinson Radiocarbon 53(2), (2011) 221-228

Evaluation of Relative Comparator and k0-NAA for Characterization of Aboriginal Australian Ochre, R.S. Popelka-Filcoff, C.E. Lenehan, M.D. Glascock, J.W. Bennett, A. Stopic, J.S. Quinton, A. Pring and K. Walshe. Journal of Radioanalytical and Nuclear Chemistry (2011)


Microanalysis of Artworks: IR Microspectroscopy of paint cross-sections, R. Sloggett, C. Kyi, N. Tse, M. Tobin, L. Puskar, S. Best Vibrational.Spectroscopy, 53(1) (2010) 77-82


Early bronze in two Holocene archaeological sites in Gansu, NW China, J. Dodson, X. Li, M. Ji, K. Zhao, X. Zhou, V. Levchenko Quaternary Res. 72 (2009) 309-314


Diffraction and fluorescence studies of bushranger armour, D.C. Creagh, G. Thorogood, M.James, and D.L. Hallam Radiation Physics and Chemistry, 71(3-4) (2004) 839-840

Analyses of Joe Byrne’s armour, D.C. Creagh, G.D. Thorogood, M. James and D.L. Hallam Proceedings of Metal (2004) 207-214


AMS and controversies in history: The Spanish conquest of Peru, U. Zoppi , Q. Hua, G. Jacobsen, G. Sarkissian, E.M. Lawson, C. Tuniz, and L. Laurencich Minelli, Nuclear Instruments and Methods in Physics Research B 172 (2000) 756±760


Non-destructive measurements for characterisation of materials and datation of Corona Ferrea of Monza, M. Milazzo, C. Cicardi, T. Mannoni, C. Tuniz Handbook of the Sixth Australasian Archaeometry Conference, 10±13 February 1997, Sydney, Australia


Glue incriminates Sculptor, in: C. Holden (Ed.), Science 267, 5200 (1995) 966


F. Terrasi, L. Campajola, F. Petrazzuolo, A. Brondi, A. Cipriano, M. D’Onofrio, Q. Hua, V. Roca, M. Romano, M. Romoli, C. Tuniz, and E. Lawson L’Italia Scacchistica 1064 (1994) 48­60.