Petroarchaeological analysis of ceramics

Petroarchaeological analysis of ceramics

The sense of the petroarchaeological analysis of ceramics is to evaluate the mineralogical composition of ceramic shards in order to determine, for example, the provenance of the material used to make ceramics, reconstruction of production technologies (forming methods, firing conditions) and variations in time and space and explanation of technological possibilities (Quin, 2013; Rice, 1987).

Ceramics means all objects made of predominantly silicate material that have been thermally transformed. In pottery terminology, ceramics refers to the material, not the specific types of cooking utensils. Tiles, coverings and ceramic vessels are referred to as ceramics as well (Velde, Druce, 1999).

Petroarchaeological analysis of ceramics is a destructive method in which a part of about 3×4 cm is cut from the studied material and processed into a covered or polished thin section. The resulting preparation is then used for classical description under a polarizing microscope, in the case of a polished thin section it is suitable for other methodological approaches, such as element maps detected by electron microscopy.

Petroarchaeological analysis of ceramic is in the frame of the ERCA Centre guaranteed by Associate Professor Lenka Lisá, PhD., from the Institute of Geology of the Czech Academy of Sciences in Prague.



Quin P.S., 2013: Ceramic Petrography: The Interpretation of Archaeological Pottery & Related Artefacts in Thin Section. Archaeopress.

Velde, V., Druce, C.I., 1999: Archaeological Ceramic Materials. Berlin – Heidelberg.

Rice P.M.M., 1987: Pottery Analysis, Second Edition: A Sourcebook.  The University of Chicago Press.