Microchimica Acta

, 160:493 | Cite as

Organic residue analysis of Neolithic pottery from North Greece

  • Sophia Mitkidou
  • Evagelia Dimitrakoudi
  • Dushka Urem-Kotsou
  • Despina Papadopoulou
  • Kostas Kotsakis
  • John A. Stratis
  • Ioulia Stephanidou-Stephanatou
Original Paper

Abstract.

Organic residues associated with Neolithic pottery from two Late Neolithic sites, Paliambela and Makriyalos (Northern Greece), were analyzed by gas chromatography-mass spectrometry. The study aimed at identifying the origin of the tar used for waterproofing and gluing broken pots. Reference tars were prepared in laboratory conditions by pyrolysis of the bark from three tree species, namely from Betula pendula (silver birch), Ostrya carpinifolia (hop hornbeam) and Carpinus orientalis (Eastern hornbeam). The results suggest that mostly birch bark tar was used as glue for fixing broken pieces of the pots as well as for waterproofing close-shaped vessels. None of the archaeological tars derived from the two hornbeams. The analysis shows certain variability in the composition of birch bark tar, which is related to the production technique and to the re-use of tar. Of particular interest is the presence of characteristic diterpenoid biomarkers in several samples, which indicates that pine pitch was used for gluing and pine resin for waterproofing vessels for liquids.

Key words: Neolithic pottery; birch bark tar; pine pitch; gas chromatography-mass spectrometry (GC-MS) 

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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 2007

Authors and Affiliations

  • Sophia Mitkidou
    • 1
  • Evagelia Dimitrakoudi
    • 1
  • Dushka Urem-Kotsou
    • 2
  • Despina Papadopoulou
    • 1
  • Kostas Kotsakis
    • 2
  • John A. Stratis
    • 3
  • Ioulia Stephanidou-Stephanatou
    • 3
  1. 1.Department of Science, School of Technological ApplicationsTechnological Institute of KavalaKavalaGreece
  2. 2.Department of ArchaeologyAristotle UniversityThessalonikiGreece
  3. 3.Department of ChemistryAristotle UniversityThessalonikiGreece

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