Raw Clay Analyses

Clay prospecting in the vicinity of the find spots of the ceramic material is essential to the investigation of ceramic productions. Normally prospecting is concentrated within a radius of 1-2 km from the site and guided by topography and geological maps. Before sampling the plasticity of the clays are tested in field by rolling coils. The presence of calcium is tested by 10 % HCl.

Wet chemical analysis of raw clay samples and of ceramic materials are used to determine the ratios of main elements. Sampling from ceramic materials always entails a risk of including finely crushed tempering material, which may bias the results. Post-depositional contamination's of the fabric must also be taken into account.

Simulated Manufacture

The results from the different analyses performed on the ceramic material offer alternatives on how to interpret the ceramic process. One method to test these possible interpretations is simulated manufacture. This does not necessarily mean that whole vessels have to be made. When studying different types of temper for instance it is enough to make small briquettes and use these to make samples for thin sections, thermal analyses etc. If vessel function is to be studied it is important to make an accurate replica of the original as possible. In this case not only the shape and size of the vessel has to be right but also type of clay and temper, manufacturing technique, surface treatment and firing method


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