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Investigation by pXRF of Caltagirone Pottery Samples Produced in Laboratory

Anna M. Gueli / Antonio Delfino / Emanuele Nicastro / Stefania Pasquale
  • Corresponding author
  • Department of Physics and Astronomy, Catania University & INFN, S. Sofia 64, I-95123 Catania, Itay
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  • De Gruyter OnlineGoogle Scholar
/ Giuseppe Politi / Antonella Privitera / Sofia Spampinato / Giuseppe Stella
Published Online: 2017-09-23 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.1515/opar-2017-0014


In the study of archaeological ceramics, it is important to have compositional data to identify their origin and source. The fabric also provides useful information on the production technology, especially with regard to the firing steps. The work presented here is connected to this field and focuses on the main parameters related to the terracotta artefacts preparation. Thus, one can consider the effects in terracotta characteristics of different raw materials and firing parameters, in particular for pottery of Caltagirone, which is one of most important centres of pottery production in Italy, active since the Neolithic. To this end, terracotta samples have been reproduced in a laboratory setting according to the ancient procedure of Caltagirone manufacture, starting from clay and degreaser extraction in local historical sites. The analysis was conducted using a portable X-Ray Fluorescence (pXRF) spectrometer for elemental characterization of sand degreaser and of clays during each step of the realization process and in different firing conditions. SEM-ED techniques were also employed to verify the method and results for some of the samples after firing process. Framing the technological context of manufacture production, known in the specific case, it is also possible to identify potential outcomes and limits in the study of potsherds using pXRF technology, in applying the methodology to historic artefacts.

Keywords: archaeology; pottery; pXRF; SEM-EDS; Caltagirone (Sicily)


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About the article

Received: 2016-11-30

Accepted: 2017-08-06

Published Online: 2017-09-23

Published in Print: 2017-09-26

Citation Information: Open Archaeology, Volume 3, Issue 1, Pages 235–246, ISSN (Online) 2300-6560, DOI: https://doi.org/10.1515/opar-2017-0014.

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© 2017. This work is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 License. BY-NC-ND 4.0

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