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Environmental Science and Pollution Research

, Volume 24, Issue 16, pp 13921–13949 | Cite as

Archaeometric researches on the provenance of Mediterranean Archaic Phoenician and Punic pottery

  • M. L. Amadori
  • C. Del Vais
  • P. Fermo
  • P. Pallante
Employ of Multivariate Analysis and Chemometrics in Cultural Heritage and Environment Fields

Abstract

The aim of this study is to setup a first chemical database that could represent the starting point for a reliable classification method to discriminate between Archaic Phoenician and Punic pottery on the base of their chemical data. This database up to now can discriminate between several different areas of production and provenance and can be applied also to unknown ceramic samples of comparable age and production areas. More than 100 ceramic fragments were involved in this research, coming from various archaeological sites having a crucial importance in the context of the Phoenician and Punic settlement in central and western Mediterranean: Carthage (Tunisia), Toscanos (South Andalusia, Spain), Sulci, Monte Sirai, Othoca, Tharros (Sardinia, Italy) and Pithecusa (Campania, Italy). Since long-time archaeologists hypothesised that Mediterranean Archaic Phoenician and Punic pottery had mainly a local or just a regional diffusion, with the exception of some particular class like transport amphorae. To verify the pottery provenance, statistical analyses were carried out to define the existence of different ceramic compositional groups characterised by a local origin or imported from other sites. The existing literature data are now supplemented by new archaeometric investigations both on Archaic Phoenician ceramics and clayey raw materials from Sardinia. Therefore, diffractometric analyses, optical microscopy observations and X-ray fluorescence analyses were performed to identify the mineralogical and chemical composition of Othoca ceramics and clayey raw material. The obtained results were then compared with own literature data concerning Phoenician and Punic pottery in order to find features related to the different ceramic productions and their provenance. Principal component analysis (PCA) and hierarchical cluster analysis (HCA) were also performed on the chemical compositional data in order to discriminate ceramic groups. A very complex situation was found: imported ceramics coming from Carthage, with a large-scale distribution, were found together with a predominant local production pottery. The archaeometric results demonstrate that historical and typological approach has to be supported by scientific analyses to better understand local or Mediterranean exchanges.

Keywords

Archaic Phoenician and Punic pottery Archaeometry optical microscope XRF analyses PCA HCA 

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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2016

Authors and Affiliations

  • M. L. Amadori
    • 1
  • C. Del Vais
    • 2
  • P. Fermo
    • 3
  • P. Pallante
    • 4
  1. 1.Department of Pure and Applied SciencesUniversity of UrbinoUrbinoItaly
  2. 2.Department of History, Cultural Heritage and TerritoryUniversity of CagliariCagliariItaly
  3. 3.Department of ChemistryUniversity of MilanMilanItaly
  4. 4.Forgeo, Associated Technical StudioModenaItaly

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