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Hyperfine Interactions

, Volume 154, Issue 1–4, pp 143–158 | Cite as

Thin Section Microscopy Applied to the Study of Archaeological Ceramics

  • J. Riederer
Article

Abstract

For the characterization of archaeological ceramics, the study of thin sections under the polarizing microscope is a very efficient analytical technique. There are two properties of ceramics which can be analysed by thin sections, namely the mineralogical composition and the fabric. Both features show a considerable variety which permits a very detailed description of ceramic wares. With respect to the mineralogical composition, there is a wide variety of rock forming minerals, of heavy and ore minerals, fragments of stone, fossils, organic inclusions like straw or pieces of charcoal as well as artificial inclusions like slag or crushed pottery, which define with the temper of the pottery in much detail. The fabric also shows considerable differences in grain size, in the amount of temper, in the orientation of grains and other features, which provide further quantitative data on the properties of archaeological ceramics. From this information, the material can be well characterised, and conclusions as to the region of origin and the potter's techniques can often be drawn.

thin section microscopy archaeological ceramics 

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Copyright information

© Kluwer Academic Publishers 2004

Authors and Affiliations

  • J. Riederer
    • 1
  1. 1.Rathgen-ForschungslaborBerlinGermany

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