Charmant Project

Logo CharmAnt


Key issues in Cultural Heritage are non-invasive inspections and low-impact excavation of archaeological sites and the subsequent non-invasive characterization of the artefacts and human remains that they contain. The latter may be hidden or simply impossible to remove for characterization in laboratory facilities, because they are too large, too fragile or too valuable. Commonly, these are in buried sites distributed within large areas, where excavation processes are expensive and labour intensive. All these issues will be addressed within CHARMANT by deploying a suite of synergistic, innovative and multidisciplinary techniques specifically developed and tailored to enable a thorough survey of large buried areas and the subsequent diagnostic needs of the archaeo-anthropological community.

CHARMANT will combine particle, laser-based and geophysical technologies and use them as artificial eyes to look through a wide range of sediments and materials. A set of biological, chemical and spectroscopic techniques will be used to provide unprecedented and unique information on objects and remains. Several archaeological sites have been selected, in Italy, with different degrees of complexity, for developing and testing the new technologies. Relevant new archaeological information is expected from field deployment of the whole suite of technologies in two case studies, Villa dei Papiri (Naples, Italy) and Abu Tbeira (South Iraq). The former, a Roman age villa, is recognized as a key site for a thorough cultural understanding of the ancient world, mostly due to its wide library. The latter, and most demanding site, is the key to solve, by archaeo-DNA retrieval and analysis, the still unanswered question on the origin of the Sumerian population.

The CHARMANT Synergistic Team

P. DE NATALE1 S. Bartalini1, P. Cancio1, G. Festa4, G. Gagliardi1, G. Giusfredi1, D. Mazzotti1, M. Missori1, L. Pezzati1, O. Pulci3, M. Vitiello1
C. ANDREANI3 I. Anderson (ORNL UT Batelle, US), H. Bilheux (SNS, ORNL UT Batelle, US), E. Coccia2, G. Gorini4, P. Picozza2, R. Senesi3, E. Strickland3
M. G. BIGA5 P. Albertano3, L. Bruno3, G. De Natale (INGV-Osservatorio Vesuviano), N. Ellwood (Università di Roma Tre), F. Fernandez-Alonso (ISIS Pulsed Neutron Source, UK), M. L. Lavitrano4
O. RICKARDS3 B. Adembri (Sovraintendenza Archeologica del Lazio), F. D’Agostino5, R. Giuliani (Pontificia Commissione di Archeologia Sacra), M. Guaitoli (Università del Salento), S. Licoccia3, C.M. Labarga3, L. Mori5, L. Verderame5
COIRICH-CNR1, COIRICH-INFN2, COIRICH-Univ. Roma Tor Vergata3, COIRICH-Univ. Milano Bicocca4, Univ. Roma Sapienza5

Additional references:


- Paolo De Natale elected Spie fellow

- CHARISMA European project, FP7 No 228330, Aspinall, C. Gaffney, A. Schmidt Magnetometry for archeology, AltaMira Press, Walnut Creek, CA 2007.

- H. Becker. Duo and quadro-sensor configuration for high speed/high resolution magnetic porspecting with ceasium magnetometer, in Magnetic prospecting in archaeological sites (eds. H. Becker and J.W.E. Fassbinder), 20-5, ICOMOS, Munich 2001.

- M. R.Bates, C. R.Bates, and E.J.Whittaker. Archaeological Prospection, 14, 104–29, 2007.

- C. Gaffney, Archeometry, 50, 131-336, 2008.

- K. L. Kvamme, American Antiquity, 63, 435–57, 2003.

- K. L. Kvamme, Archaeological Prospection, 13, 57–72, 2006.

- W. Neubauer (2001) Magnetische Prospektion in der Archäologie, Mitteilungen der Prähistorischen Kommission, Wien.

- Saverio Avino, Jack A. Barnes, Gianluca Gagliardi, Xijia Gu, David Gutstein, James R. Mester, Costa Nicholaou, and Hans-Peter Loock, Optics Express, Vol. 19 Issue 25, pp.25057-25065 (2011).

- G. Gagliardi, M. Salza, S. Avino, P. Ferraro, and P. De Natale, Science 330(6007),1081–1084 (2010).

- Timothy T-Y Lam, Gianluca Gagliardi, Mario Salza, Jong H Chow and Paolo De Natale, Meas. Sci. Technol. 21, 094010, (2010).

- G Gagliardi, M Salza, P Ferraro, P De Natale, A Di Maio, S Carlino, G DeNatale and E Boschi, Meas. Sci. Technol. 19, 085306, (2008).

- G. Gagliardi, S. De Nicola, P. Ferraro, P. De Natale, Optics Express, Vol. 15 Issue 7, pp.3715-3728 (2007).

- G. Gagliardi, M. Salza, P. Ferraro, and P. De Natale, J. Opt. A, Pure Appl. Opt. 8(7), S507–S513 (2006).

- M. Niklès, F. Ravet, Nat. Photonics 4, 431 (2010).

- M. Jones, Nat. Photonics 2, 153 (2008).

- Y. J. Rao, Meas. Sci. Technol. 8, 355 (1997).

- B. Lissak, A. Arie, and M. Tur, Opt. Lett. 23(24), 1930–1932 (1998).

- A. D. Kersey, Opt. Fiber Technol. 2, 291–317, (1998).

- G. Giusfredi, S. Bartalini, S. Borri, P. Cancio, I. Galli, D. Mazzotti, P. De Natale, Phys. Rev. Letts, 107, 270802 (2011).

- G. Giusfredi, S. Bartalini, S. Borri, P. Cancio, I. Galli, D. Mazzotti, P. De Natale, Phys. Rev. Lett.s 104, 110801 (2010).

- Galli, S. Bartalini, S. Borri, P. Cancio, G. Giusfredi, D. Mazzotti, and P. De Natale, Optics Letters, 35, 3616-3618 (2010).

- S. Borri, S. Bartalini, P. Cancio, I. Galli, G. Giusfredi, D. Mazzotti, P. De Natale, Optical Eng. 49(11), 111122 (2010).

- A. Aspinall, C. Gaffney, A. Schmidt (2007). Magnetometry for archeology, AltaMira Press, Walnut Creek, CA.


- S. Imberti, W. Kockelmann, M. Celli et al. ‘Neutron diffractometer INES for quantitative phase analysis of archaeological objects’, MEASUREMENT SCIENCE & TECHNOLOGY Volume: 19 Issue: 3 (2008).

- A. Hilger, N. Kardjilov, M. Strobl, W. Treimer, J. Banhart, ‘The new cold neutron radiography and tomography instrument CONRAD at HMI Berlin’, Physica B 385-386 (Part 2), 1213–1215 (2006).

- J. R. Santisteban, M. R. Daymond,, J. A. James and L. Edwards, ‘ENGIN-X: a third-generation neutron strain scanner’, J. Appl. Cryst 39, 812–825(2006).

- D.L. Chichester, J.D. Simpson, Compact accelerator neutron generators, The Industrial Physicist, December 2003–January 2004, pp. 22–25..

- C. Andreani, G. Gorini and T. Materna, ‘Novel Neutron Imaging Techniques for Cultural Heritage Objects’, in Neutron Imaging and Applications, New York (USA), Springer, 229-252, (2009).

- Van Bavel, C.H.M. 1963b. Neutron Scattering of Soil Moisture: Development and Current Status. Proc. Int. Symp. on Humidity and Moisture (Washington DC), pp 171-184

- E. Perelli Cippo, A. Borella, G. Gorini, W. Kockelmann, M. Mox, H. Postma, N. J. Rhodes, P. Schillebeeckx, E. M. Schoonenveld, M. Tardocchi, K. Dusz, S. Hajnal, K. Biro, S. Porcinai, C. Andreani and G. Festa, J. Anal. At. Spectrom. 26, 992 2011.

- A. Pietropaolo, G. Gorini, G. Festa, E. Reali, F.- Grazzi, EM. Schooneveld, R. Senesi, ‘Neutron Resonance Capture Analysis Experimental Station at the ISIS Spallation Source’, Applied Spectroscopy, 64, n.9 (2010).

- A. Pietropaolo, M. Tardocchi, EM. Schooneveld, R. Senesi, ‘Characterization of the gamma background in epithermal neutron scattering measurements at pulsed neutron sources’, Nucl. Instr. & Methods, vol. 568, n. 2, (2006).

- Characterization of the Virgo Seismic Environment. By The Virgo Collaboration (T. Accadia et al.), Class.Quant.Grav.29:025005,2012. e-Print: arXiv:1108.1598 [gr-qc]

- ET – Einstein gravitational-wave Telescope –

- A. Di Cintio, V. Malvezzi, F. Ricci, E. Coccia. Characterization of four italian seismic fields, ET-0094A-10.


- L. Binford, An Archaeological Perspective, New York 1972.

- M.M. Akkermanns, G.M.Schwartz, The Archaeology of Syria, Cambridge 2003.

- P. Matthiae, Prima lezione di archeologia orientale, Roma 2005.

- P. Pergola, Le catacombe romane. Storia e topografia, Roma 2009.

- Winter, On Art in the Ancient Near East, Volume 1 & Volume 2, , Leiden 2009.

- N. Laneri, Performing Death: Social Analyses of Funerary Traditions in the Ancient Near East and Mediterranean, Chicago 2007.

- P. Pergola, Le catacombe romane. Storia e topografia, Roma 2009.

- P.M.M.Akkermanns, G.M.Schwartz, The Archaeology of Syria, Cambridge 2003.


- Bentley RA. 2006. Strontium isotopes from the earth to the archaeological skeleton: a review. J Archaeol Method Theory 13:135–187.

- Daux V, Lécuyer C, Héran M-A, Amiot R, Simon L, Fourel F, Martineau F, Lynnerup N, Reychler H, Escarguel G. 2008. Oxygen isotope fractionation between human phosphate and water revisited. J Hum Evol, 55:1138-47.

- Gilbert, MTP, Bandelt, H-J, Hofreiter, M, Barnes, I. 2005. Assessing ancient DNA studies. Trends Ecol. Evol. 20: 541-544.

- Haak W, Forster P, Bramanti B, Matsumura S, Brandt G, Tanzer M, Villems R, Renfrew C, Gronenborn D, Alt K W, Burger J. 2005. Ancient DNA from the first European farmers in 7500-year-old Neolithic sites. Science 310:1016-18.

- Knapp M., and Hofreiter M. 2010. Next Generation Sequencing of Ancient DNA: Requirements, Strategies and Perspectives. Genes, 1: 227-243

- Malmstrom H, Stora J, Dalen L, Holmlund G, Gotherstrom A. 2005 Extensive human DNA contamination in extracts from ancient dog bones and teeth. Molecular Biology Evolution 22:2040-47

- Malmstrom H, Svensson EM, Gilbert MT, Willerslev E, Gotherstrom A, Holmlund G. 2007. More on contamination: the use of asymmetric molecular behavior to identify authentic ancient human DNA. Molecular Biology Evolution 24:998-1004.

- Millard, AR 2001 Deterioration of bone, in DR Brothwell and AM Pollard (eds) Handbook of Archaeological Sciences Wiley, Chichester 633–643

- Montgomery, J, Evans, JA, Powlesland, D, Roberts, CA. 2005 Continuity or Colonization in Anglo-Saxon England? Isotope Evidence for Mobility, Subsistence Practice, and Status at West Heslerton . Am J. Phys. Anthrop.126:123–138

- Nehlich, O and Richards, MP. 2009. Establishing collagen quality criteria for sulphur isotope analysis of archaeological bone collagen. Archaeol. Anthropol. Sci. 1: 59-75.

- Nielsen-Marsh CM, Hedges RE. 2000. Patterns of diagenesis in bone. II. Effects of acetic acid treatment and the removal of diagenetic CO3. J Archaeol Sci 27:1151–1159.

- Pääbo, S, Poinar, H, Serre, D, Jaenicke-Després, V, Hebler, J, Rohland, N, Kuch, M, Krause, J, Vigilant, L, Hofreiter, M. 2004. Genetic analysis from ancient DNA. Annu. Rev. Genet. 38: 645–679.

- Poage MA, Chamberlin CP. 2001. Empirical relationships between elevation and the stable isotope composition of precipitation and surface waters: Considerations for studies of paleoelevation change. Am J Sci 301:1–15.

- Pruvost M, Schwarz R, Correia VB, Champlot S, Braguier S, Morel N, Fernandez-Jalvo Y, Grange T, Geigl EM. 2007. Freshly excavated fossil bones are best for amplification of ancient DNA. Proc. Nat. Acad. Sci. USA. 104:739-744.

- Van Oven, M and Kayser, M. 2009. Updated comprehensive phylogenetic tree of global human mitochondrial DNA variation. Hum. Mutat. 30, E386-E394.