Archaeometric characterization of late Archaic ceramic from Erice (Sicily) aimed to provenance determination
- Autori: Montana G.; Randazzo L.; Fantauzzi C.B.
- Anno di pubblicazione: 2019
- Tipologia: Articolo in rivista
- OA Link: http://hdl.handle.net/10447/417466
A set of 20 ceramic samples was autoptically selected from the numerous findings recovered from the stratigraphic excavations of the late Archaic city walls of Erice (western Sicily), in order to be analyzed with archaeometric techniques for provenance determination. The excavations were recently carried out as part of a research project funded by the Freie Universiat Berlin and the Fritz Thyssen Foundation. Specifically, the ceramic material consists of tableware with a painted geometric decoration of presumed local/regional production, as well as apparently imported black-glazed pottery. Both the categories can be traced back to a chronological period between the second half/last quarter of the 6th and the beginning of the 5th century BC. The methodological approach was aimed to the characterization of the ceramic pastes in terms of relative abundance, size distribution and mineralogical composition of the aplastic inclusions by the observation of thin sections with the polarizing microscope. The objective of the microscopic observations consisted in verifying the existence of textural and/or mineralogical analogies to be ascribed to the same clayey raw material and, consequently, to the same production centre. The chemical analyses of the same set of ceramic samples were carried out using the ICP-OES and ICP-MS techniques (55 elements in total). The aim of chemical analyses was to verify the adequacy of the petrographic classification and identify any chemical marker useful for provenance determination. All the analyzed samples of painted ceramic with geometric decoration have consistent compositional and textural characteristics, to the point of considering their assignment to a single 'paste group'. Specifically, it was found the use of very peculiar clay rich in calcareous bioclasts among the included aplastic and relatively poor in quartz and mica. The production, well distinguishable from those to date already attested in western Sicily, could be local. Concerning samples taken from the ceramic fragments decorated with black glaze, the evidence derived from mineralogical-petrographic observations and chemical analyses help confirm their importation from extra-insular production centres, specifically from the Attic region. The Ca-poor paste and the peculiar concentration of many trace elements such as Cr, Ni, Co, As, Pb, Zn, Cu, Sc, Be, V, Ga, Ge, Sn, Tl in the ceramic body strongly support this hypothesis.