Method and approach

The present project proposes the chemical characterization of fossil resins by means of the combination between pyrolysis, thermal desorption and GC–MS analysis for amber macromolecular fraction characterization; ICP-MS for inorganic inclusions analysis; and advanced data computing with multivariate analysis techniques used to extract information related with the geological origin of the fossil resins, with a focus on Romanite and Baltic amber.

The innovative approach consists in the application of an AMDIS protocol for deconvoluting cleaner spectra of pyrolysis products, which will allow the creation of a more reliable GC/MS electron ionisation mass spectra database of natural compounds, in combination with multivariate data analysis techniques for the characterization of composition and geological origin of archaeological amber. Elemental analysis with ICP-MS was selected as a state of the art sensitive complementary technique with the hope that differences in geological origin and diagenetic processes of formation of fossil resins will give differences in elemental and isotopic patterns.

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