Evolved Gas Analysis-Mass Spectrometry to Identify the Earliest Organic Binder in Aegean Style Wall Paintings

Ravit Linn, Ilaria Bonaduce, Georgia Ntasi, Leila Birolo, Assaf Yasur-Landau, Eric H. Cline, Austin Nevin, Anna Lluveras-Tenorio

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


An organic binder was identified in the painted fragments from the Canaanite palace of Tel Kabri, Israel. Recently dated to the late 18th century B.C.E. by 14C, Tel Kabri is the most ancient of the Eastern Mediterranean sites in which Aegean style paintings have been found. The application of pigments was suspected to be using an organic binding medium, particularly for the Egyptian Blue pigment. Samples of blue paint were examined using evolved gas analysis-mass spectrometry (EGA-MS) in order to overcome the analytical challenges imposed by highly degraded aged proteinaceous materials. Egg was identified as the binder based on the presence of hexadecanonitrile and octadecanonitrile, confirming the use of a secco painting technique. Lysozyme C from Gallus gallus was detected by proteomics analysis, confirming the presence of egg. To our knowledge, this is the earliest use of egg as a binder in Aegean style wall paintings.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)13441-13444
Number of pages4
JournalAngewandte Chemie
Issue number40
StatePublished - 1 Oct 2018

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
Part of this research has received funding from the European Union≫s Horizon 2020 research and innovation program under the Marie Sklodowska Curie Grant Agreement No. 722606, TEMPERA (Teaching Emerging Methods in Palae-oproteomics for the European Research Area).

Publisher Copyright:
© 2018 Wiley-VCH Verlag GmbH & Co. KGaA, Weinheim


  • Aegean style paintings
  • Bronze Age
  • evolved gas analysis
  • mass spectrometry
  • organic binders

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Catalysis
  • General Chemistry


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