Forty years of Laboratory analyses - Digitalization and evaulation of thin-section analysis

Since the laboratory starting in the 1970’s have over 4500 thin-section analyses been done. The material comes from all over the world. A large comparative material is available from across Europe and in the smaller number from South America, Africa and Asia. Chronologically, the material ranges from about 4000 BC to the present.

The material consists of analyses on all kinds of ceramic materials: pottery, crucibles, moulds, furnace linings, wattle-and-daub, bricks, tiles etc. The principal aim with the project is to study how raw materials were used and chosen for different functions and to distinguish how differences in these selections were transformed in space and over time.

The first step is finished now. The majority of the results are collected in a GIS-database and the work with the evaluation will start. The project has all possibilities to evaluate and bring new knowledge about the ceramic handicraft in Scandinavia. Old concepts of the cultural behaviours in pottery manufacture material will be reassessed and quantified.

Analyses should later be systematized in a database (SEAD) in cooperation with the Environmental Archaeology Laboratory in Umeå.

The work with the SEAD-database will be one of the most important projects for the Laboratory of Ceramic Research for the next few years. The initial stage is aimed at integrating information on ceramics with the present SEAD-database structure.

The primary material will be selected among the archaeological finds that has been analysed at the Laboratory for Ceramic Research. In addition to information on archaeological time period, vessel type and vessel shape the database will contain data derived from thin section analyses, thermal analyses, chemical analyses etc. One important aim of the project is to illustrate how this information may be used in the archaeological society when planning archaeological excavations and research projects.

A preliminary distribution of all analyses made on Swedish material. As indicated on the map the material comes from all regions.

A preliminary distribution of the analyses made on material outside Sweden.

Thomas Eriksson and Anders Lindahl

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This page was last modified 2011-09-06
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