Material characterisation laboratory

The CEAlex materials characterisation laboratory, which opened in January 2013 thanks to support from the CNRS, the Agence Nationale de la Recherche and an endowment from the Maison de la Chimie Foundation, is dedicated to analysing samples of various materials in order to identify their constituents, determine their origins as far as possible, and reconstruct their operational chains and manufacturing techniques.

It uses physical and chemical analyses (portable X-ray fluorescence spectrometer, benchtop SEM-EDS, FTIR spectrometer, portable Raman spectrometer) as well as macro and microscopic observations (stereomicroscope, polarising microscope, metallographic microscopes).

The first area of application concerns studies into the origins and characteristics of ceramics, whether produced in Egypt or imported, with the aim of creating reference groups by workshop and production type: amphora and pottery production workshops from the Mareotide, Coptos, Rhodes, Cos and Cnidus.
The lab is also involved in research into the hydraulic mortars used in Alexandria and the surrounding region from the Hellenistic to the Ottoman periods.
It is involved in research into gems discovered in workshop contexts from the Late Roman Period in Alexandria (Diana site), producing macro- and microscopic documentation and carrying out analyses (benchtop SEM-EDS).
The lab has also carried out an initial series of analyses on the seashells used in the architectural decoration of Alexandria in the Hellenistic period.
As part of its partnership with the French School of Athens, the laboratory participates in missions to Delos, carrying out chemical and petrographic analyses of amphorae and ceramics of various origins, milling elements and chemical analyses of painted plasters and pigments.
The laboratory is also responsible for the inventory of geological maps (Egypt and abroad) and topographical and tourist maps (non-Egypt) in the CEAlex map library.


Nadia Cantin, responsable
Mai Abdel Gawad
Assem Bahnasy