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Archaeometry of Sicilian glazed pottery

  • Autori: Alaimo, R.; Bultrini, G.; Fragala', I.; Giarrusso, R.; Iliopoulos, I.; Montana, G.
  • Anno di pubblicazione: 2004
  • Tipologia: Articolo in rivista
  • OA Link:


Petrographic and chemical analyses of the “ceramic body” of 114 majolica artefacts manufactured in Sicily over a wide time range (16th–-19th century) are presented. All the analysed samples, which belong to museums and private collections,were previously attributed to Sicilian workshops based on stylistic features evaluated by expert historians of art. Unambiguous identification of the production sites of majolica handicrafts in Sicily remains, however, open to question when this relies only on purely stylistic considerations. To this end compositional and/or textural markers have been searched for in the “ceramic body” of the majolica artefacts in order to differentiate between the centres of manufacture which were active in Sicily in previous centuries. The study of thin sections has allowed the characterization of the raw materials as well as the microscopic “fabric” of manufacture from four of the more relevant Sicilian production sites, namely: Caltagirone, Sciacca, Palermo and Santo Stefano di Camastra. Chemical data, including minor and trace elements, have been submitted to computer assisted multivariate statistical techniques. Principal component analysis (PCA) and linear discriminant analysis (LDA) have defined compositional “ceramic reference groups” and, consequently, have enabled a more realistic discrimination of provenance. These data have documented several imports of majolica from Naples, while the same artefacts were previously attributed to Sicilian workshops, based on stylistic considerations.