EPJB - Revue d'EDP Sciences, société d'édition de la SFP

Analytical techniques, originally developed for traditional materials, turn out to be very useful to study the composition and structure of artistic and historical specimens. But the reverse is also true. The study of ancient artefacts is providing interesting insights of more general interest to materials scientists, as well as inspiration for current artists.

This is the outlook of Sciau and Goudeau in their recent EPJ B Colloquium. The authors focus on the advances made through the study of ancient pottery. These are complex and heterogeneous materials and the authors place emphasis on an approach based on the decomposition of materials into subsystems and the applications of both traditional and novel methods to scan the material at different length scales, from the micro to the nanoscale.