I stumbled across an article today from io9.com, discussing how ultraviolet light can tell us how Ancient Greek and Roman statues originally appeared. Apparently they were painted, and over the centuries that paint has faded/eroded/been cleaned off, but UV light makes tiny fragments of pigment still left on the surface glow bright. Then with Infrared and X-ray spectroscopy they figure out what the paints were made of.
Once the patterns have been established, an idea of what the statues looked like can be extrapolated and the result is ... loud and tacky. No doubt, the Ancient Greeks loved their colour but ... wow, those statues look ugly. Just look at the comparison of the two versions of the iconic statue of Julius Caesar:
Yet one wonders if this isn't a situation where an original colour was applied with the knowledge that it would quickly darken, or whether the scientists' results are off.