Archaeological and Anthropological Sciences

, Volume 9, Issue 6, pp 1259–1273 | Cite as

Insights into the raw materials and technology used to produce Copper Age ceramics in the Southern Carpathians (Romania)

  • Alexandra Giurgiu
  • Corina Ionescu
  • Volker Hoeck
  • Tudor Tămaş
  • Cristian Roman
  • Otis N. Crandell
Original Paper


The Copper Age Coţofeni culture occupied a large territory which covers present day W Romania, NE Serbia, and NW Bulgaria. The Coțofeni people lived in settlements located on hill slopes and river terraces, as well as in caves. Their hand-modeled ceramic pottery is richly ornamented by incisions, incrustations, and “lentil bean” appliqués. Potsherds found in the “Peştera Mare de la Cerişor” (i.e., the “Great Cave of Cerişor”) located in Paleozoic crystalline limestones and dolomites (Southern Carpathians, Romania) were studied in terms of mineralogy and petrography by OM, XRD, and EMPA. The sherds consist of an Fe-rich illitic matrix embedding quartz, K-feldspar, muscovite, plagioclase, biotite, chlorite, various heavy minerals, metamorphic, magmatic and sedimentary lithoclasts, as well as soil concretions and chamotte. Within a temperature interval, spanning between ∼800 and ∼900 °C, three firing groups were roughly separated, based on the optical characteristics of the matrix and the intensity of the illite/muscovite diffraction peaks. Quaternary and Miocene rocks from the area were analyzed by XRD in order to determine the provenance of the raw materials.


Archaeometry Ceramics Copper Age OM XRD EMPA 



The authors are grateful to the anonymous reviewers for their comments and suggestions which helped to improve the manuscript. A.G. is thankful for financial support from the POSDRU/159/1.5/S/132400 project. C.I., V.H., and O.C. acknowledge support from the Romanian Ministry of Education and Research (UEFISCDI/CNCS) through project PN-II-ID-PCE-2011-3-0881. C.I. also acknowledges subsidy from the Russian Government to support the “Program of competitive growth of Kazan Federal University among world class academic centers and universities”. Mrs. Monica Mereu is thanked for the computer-assisted graphics.


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2016

Authors and Affiliations

  • Alexandra Giurgiu
    • 1
  • Corina Ionescu
    • 2
    • 1
    • 3
  • Volker Hoeck
    • 1
    • 3
  • Tudor Tămaş
    • 1
  • Cristian Roman
    • 4
  • Otis N. Crandell
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of GeologyBabeş-Bolyai UniversityCluj-NapocaRomania
  2. 2.Archeotechnologies & Archeological Material Sciences Laboratory, Institute of International Relations, History and Oriental StudiesKazan (Volga Region) Federal UniversityKazanRussia
  3. 3.Division Geography and GeologyParis Lodron UniversitySalzburgAustria
  4. 4.Deva Museum of Dacian and Roman CivilizationDevaRomania

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