From the translator of “Material Characterization Tests for Objects of Art and Archaeology”



Thanks to the information obtained from archaeological finds in excavations or cultural objects in museum collections, we can interpret past human behaviors. This information can be obtained either from the material of the find itself or from residues physically related to the object that define its use and surroundings. Either way, analyses often require long periods of time, the participation of various specialists, and expensive procedures. The “spot tests” given in this book, however, offer simple, valuable methods that can be applied even in the field.


I am an archaeologist, actually, not a translator. My professional life in archaeology started in a research-based excavation project carried out by an international team, and it has evolved around international projects for many years. Therefore, I learned the terminology, rules and jargon of the discipline that just slipped into in my English. After those first years in which I used English terms predominantly, my path led to the United Kingdom while I was conducting my graduate studies. Thus, my professional language became almost entirely English. I experienced the first pains of this situation when I had to write my own thesis in Turkish. All the scientific information in my brain was in English terms, and I had had trouble in writing academically in my mother tongue. Thereafter, I took on this humble duty of translating academic pieces into Turkish, which I think I owe to my native language.


Our mother tongue is also our language of thinking. Therefore, the effect of reading in our own language makes our understanding of the subject much stronger than reading and understanding in another language. With this source book now in Turkish, I am very happy to provide a link in reaching students in relevant departments of universities and experts working with artifacts in museums and finds in excavations.


I have taken care to use the terms, material names, process names, and tool and equipment names written in the book only after checking at least two other scientific publications. Nevertheless, if I made mistakes, I seek your forgiveness. Each spot test in the book contains a different test applied to a different material group. Therefore, they should treated independently of each other. As a test practitioner is not required to read all the other tests, some abbreviations and warnings have been given over and over, repeated in each test. If you are interested only in a particular test, I recommend that you first review the section on definitions and terms at the back of the book.


I hope it is useful for everyone who reads it.
Duygu Tarkan