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Speciation studies of iron in ancient pots from Sicily (Italy)

  • Authors: Orecchio, S.
  • Publication year: 2011
  • Type: Articolo in rivista (Articolo in rivista)
  • Key words: Pottery Speciation Iron ICP-OES
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Manufacture technology involves several aspects of potterymaking, such as the type and the atmosphere of firing to obtain the finished item. During the firing of clay, at different environment of the oven, different compounds of iron (Fe(II) and Fe(III)) are formed and this is the reason for a different color of the ceramic body. Despite the great interest in this field, no works are devoted to the study the speciation of iron in ancient ceramics. The proposed method, even if considered destructive by archaeologists, allows the speciation of iron, using quantity of sample in the order of milligram. In order to achieve information about their firing conditions, thirtynine pottery samples belonging to the archaeological Sicilian site of Himera (Sicily, Italy) were characterized for Fe(II) and Fe(III) by means of a UV–Vis spectrophotometricmethod proposed by us,while total iron was checked by ICP-OES. Were identified two groups of samples, the first (A), which is particularly rich in Fe(II) (the archaeologists have not identified the stylistic characteristics ofmost of this samples) the last group is instead rich Fe(III).