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Matching sherds to vessels through ceramic petrography : an Early Neolithic Iberian case study.

Blanco-González, A. and Krieter, A. and Badreshany, K. and Chapman, J. and Pánczél, P. (2014) 'Matching sherds to vessels through ceramic petrography : an Early Neolithic Iberian case study.', Journal of archaeological science., 50 . pp. 139-152.


Ceramic re-fitting has traditionally focused on linking sherds to vessels using their formal features or decoration. This paper presents an innovative procedure designed to test such associations using ceramic thin section analysis. An assemblage of the earliest hand-made ceramics from central Iberia dated to the second half of the 6th millennium BC was used as a test case. First, the whole ceramic assemblage was subjected to macroscopic morphological sorting, taphonomic evaluation and a re-fitting operation. These tasks led to the recognition of both secure physical joins and probable matches. 16 sherds, representing 8 pairs, were selected from among those probable matches. These samples were investigated by thin section petrography and the photomicrographs processed using digital image analyses to produce qualitative mineralogical and quantitative textural data for assessing the likelihood of each pair belonging to the same vessel. The results show the potential of this strategy for matching sherds to vessels, as well as its reliability and wide applicability.

Item Type:Article
Keywords:Early Neolithic pottery, 6th millennium BC, Sherd-to-vessel associations, Ceramic re-fitting, Thin section petrography, Digital image analysis.
Full text:(AM) Accepted Manuscript
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Publisher statement:NOTICE: this is the author’s version of a work that was accepted for publication in Journal of Archaeological Science. Changes resulting from the publishing process, such as peer review, editing, corrections, structural formatting, and other quality control mechanisms may not be reflected in this document. Changes may have been made to this work since it was submitted for publication. A definitive version was subsequently published in Journal of Archaeological Science, 50, October 2014, 10.1016/j.jas.2014.06.024.
Date accepted:27 June 2014
Date deposited:19 May 2015
Date of first online publication:October 2014
Date first made open access:No date available

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