Since the first attempts to the petrographic analysis on pottery, a multitude of archaeometric studies have been carried out to solve important issues on provenance, production technology, dating, functionality and conservation state of ancient ceramic materials. According to the scientists’ background, the period when the investigations were done, destructive versus non-destructive analyses (also in relation to the unicity of the studied objects), as well as the purpose of the research, numerous analytical methods typically used in various disciplines such as geology, physics and chemistry have been applied. This contribution focuses on the use of innovative approaches to solve archaeological issues on pottery provenance, production technology and post-depositional alteration, reporting some examples of new methods applied to perform mineralogical, petrographic and chemical analyses. The traditional microscopic characterisation of ceramic pastes, for instance, can now be easily coupled with quantitative analysis of abundance and size distribution of their textural features, through the application of digital image analysis. This method, applied to images acquired by polarised transmitted light microscope, scanning electron microscope in back-scattered mode and microchemical mapping, can quantitatively and quickly describe production recipes, contributing to the definition of the pottery production choices and evolution over time. As for the mineralogical analysis, the possibility of simultaneously processing numerous X-ray diffraction patterns by statistical tools, such as cluster analysis on raw data, is another example of a modern way to analysancient pottery and interpreting, with an objective comparison method, possible differences or analogies in the production recipes and/or firing technology of groups of ceramics. Moreover, modern microdiffraction techniques, both using conventional (X-ray tubes) and advanced sources (synchrotron radiation), also coupled with micro-Raman spectroscopy, allow the determination of mineralogical composition of small-sized phases both in ceramic bodies and slips/glazes, supplying important information on the production technology and possible post-deposition processes. As for the provenance issue, especially on fine ware, constraining relationships between far away communities/societies can now be evaluated not only on the basis of conventional bulk chemistry but also by isotope analysis. These new methodological approaches give rise to the new concept of archaeometric analysis on ancient ceramic materials that can be defined as “ archaeo-ceramic 2.0”.

Archaeo-ceramic 2.0: investigating ancient ceramics using modern technological approaches

maritan lara
2019

Abstract

Since the first attempts to the petrographic analysis on pottery, a multitude of archaeometric studies have been carried out to solve important issues on provenance, production technology, dating, functionality and conservation state of ancient ceramic materials. According to the scientists’ background, the period when the investigations were done, destructive versus non-destructive analyses (also in relation to the unicity of the studied objects), as well as the purpose of the research, numerous analytical methods typically used in various disciplines such as geology, physics and chemistry have been applied. This contribution focuses on the use of innovative approaches to solve archaeological issues on pottery provenance, production technology and post-depositional alteration, reporting some examples of new methods applied to perform mineralogical, petrographic and chemical analyses. The traditional microscopic characterisation of ceramic pastes, for instance, can now be easily coupled with quantitative analysis of abundance and size distribution of their textural features, through the application of digital image analysis. This method, applied to images acquired by polarised transmitted light microscope, scanning electron microscope in back-scattered mode and microchemical mapping, can quantitatively and quickly describe production recipes, contributing to the definition of the pottery production choices and evolution over time. As for the mineralogical analysis, the possibility of simultaneously processing numerous X-ray diffraction patterns by statistical tools, such as cluster analysis on raw data, is another example of a modern way to analysancient pottery and interpreting, with an objective comparison method, possible differences or analogies in the production recipes and/or firing technology of groups of ceramics. Moreover, modern microdiffraction techniques, both using conventional (X-ray tubes) and advanced sources (synchrotron radiation), also coupled with micro-Raman spectroscopy, allow the determination of mineralogical composition of small-sized phases both in ceramic bodies and slips/glazes, supplying important information on the production technology and possible post-deposition processes. As for the provenance issue, especially on fine ware, constraining relationships between far away communities/societies can now be evaluated not only on the basis of conventional bulk chemistry but also by isotope analysis. These new methodological approaches give rise to the new concept of archaeometric analysis on ancient ceramic materials that can be defined as “ archaeo-ceramic 2.0”.
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Utilizza questo identificativo per citare o creare un link a questo documento: https://hdl.handle.net/11577/3307972
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