Turkish Journal of Earth Sciences




This review is concerned with some key features observed within grouped samples of ancient ceramics that provide important evidence concerning the selection of appropriate raw materials and the evolution of the firing technologies employed in their production. It also demonstrates the importance of distinguishing and accounting for the mineralogical and microstructural attributes and identifying the processes responsible for the microstructural evolution of these ancient ceramics. The mineralogy largely reflects both the nature of the raw materials used and the maximum temperatures achieved during firing, deduced from the presence of specific high temperature minerals (HTMs). The microstructural evolution processes, deduced by the micromorphology of these ancient ceramics and displayed in specific features, observed in both the matrix and the slip of these ceramics, are largely controlled by the firing methods used in manufacturing. Thus, we conclude that the application of micromorphological principles, methods, and observations derived from the broad sphere of ?pedology? to the study of ancient ceramics, provides valuable insights into the independent evolution of ceramic production methods in ancient societies. Thus, most of the observations recorded here concern identification of the raw materials used to make ancient ceramics and the firing processes used in their manufacture. Our data demonstrate that these ancient potters made use of a variety of temper materials (quartz and chaff, together with fragments of locally available rocks and minerals) that are now preserved in the matrix. Furthermore, analyses of the micromorphological attributes displayed by these ancient ceramics are helpful in determining and explaining the shrinkage features (stress coatings or poro-striated b-fabrics) and the preferred orientation of the elongated pores that have developed after firing in poorly controlled and slow-fired furnaces. In this regard, we finally seek to develop a useful data library ultimately targeting the enhancement of simulated ancient ceramic/pottery production, with an overall objective to apply the mineralogical and pedological properties of Anatolian ceramics researched in this work to globally selected shard specimens. Postburial processes, such as the illuviation-deposition of clay minerals to form the observed clay coatings, probably operated during the wet-dry cycles associated with mid-late Holocene climatic fluctuations. Accompanying calcification-decalcification processes, which may result from an intra cramic leaching-deposition of carbonate present in the source material of the pottery, are also consistent with the known wet-dry cycles of the mid to late Holocene pedogenesis (soil formation) episode and is reflected in the clay coatings and further attested by coeval changes in the soil-faunal activity.


Ancient ceramics, fired shards, mineralogy, micromorphology, pedology, raw material sources

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