Petrographic and chemical characterization of Middle Bronze Age pottery from Sicily: towards a definition of an Etnean production

Abstract

The Middle Bronze Age in Sicily (fifteenth–thirteenth century BC) represents a crucial moment in the evolution of Prehistoric pottery production. However, the scarcity of specific petrographic and chemical studies has represented until now a serious interpretative handicap for archeologists. The recent study of two important Middle Bronze Age pottery complexes from the Etnean area (Grotte di Marineo di Licodia Eubea and Monte San Paolillo di Catania) has offered the possibility to add new significant data to characterize the manufacturing practices behind such production. A new assemblage of Thapsos pottery from the Middle Bronze Age site of St. Ippolito hill at Caltagirone can shed new light on the features of such Etnean production. This paper highlights the potential of the application of an array of techniques such as petrographic analysis of thin sections and chemical analyses via X-ray fluorescence spectrometry and electron microprobe analysis to better investigate production technology of Middle Bronze Age Sicilian pottery.

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Acknowledgements

Authors are grateful to Dr. Domenico Amoroso, former director of Musei Civici 'Luigi Sturzo' di Caltagirone and field director of the excavation carried out at Sant'Ippolto hill, whose results are in part subject of the present article, for his trust and support in the development of the research.

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Correspondence to G. Caso.

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Tanasi, D., Caso, G., Tykot, R.H. et al. Petrographic and chemical characterization of Middle Bronze Age pottery from Sicily: towards a definition of an Etnean production. Rend. Fis. Acc. Lincei 30, 399–415 (2019). https://doi.org/10.1007/s12210-019-00803-x

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Keywords

  • Sicily
  • Middle Bronze Age
  • Pottery technology
  • Petrography
  • pXRF
  • EPMA