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Ceramic Raw Materials


Any ceramic object represents the result of a well-structured production chain starting with the localization and the exploitation of a suitable raw material and ending with the artisanship and craftsmanship of the potter. The study of ceramic raw materials has been increasingly regarded in archaeometric research as the best starting point for identifying local paste recipes for pottery diachronically produced in any historical period. The classification of a ceramic paste and its assignment to a production center can be established more easily when ceramic sherds, kiln wasters, and raw material are studied in combination. The reconstruction of the “production chain” should facilitate the study of specific kiln sites or wider regional ceramic circulation. The chapter deals with the most relevant compositional and physical properties of clayey ceramic raw materials. Mineralogical and chemical compositions are discussed together with some characteristic properties such as plasticity, swelling, flocculation, and experimental texts.