Ceramics

(ITA)

The word "ceramic" is derived from the Greek keramos that describes a “burned material” or “burned earth”.
Pottery was the first material created by humans as expression of their cultural background and the most ancient proof are dated before the 2000 BC with the famous Venus of Dolnì Vĕstonice.

Pottery was widely used to the extent of being almost an ubiquitous material in most archaeological sites from early chronologies. Its diffusion is connected to different causes. First of all for the easy availability of raw materials, the simple production methodologies that do not require specialized manufacture and finally its resistance to degradation and alteration. In this view, pottery were produced as a material of daily use, for storage and for activities related to the kitchen, and as valuable material for use in religious rites.

what is a ceramic ?

It is formed primarily of clays with impurities or additives such as sand, carbonates (mollusk shells or crushed limestone), lithic fragments, grog (i.e., crushed ceramics), organic materials and volcanic ashes. After mixing with water, the starting paste is processed under firing to produce a harder and permanent object. Indeed, from a petrographic point of view, potsherds are assimilated to artificial “metamorphic rocks” in which the protolith is the original raw material and the activation energy of metamorphism is represented by the firing process

Ancient ceramic artifacts attracted the attention of scientists as being a chronological indicator within archaeological contexts that preserve information regarding their provenance, production process, use and conservation conditions through which they survived until nowadays. Such information are precious in terms of knowledge of the material culture of a people and the evolution of its technological background. These information are important to have an overall description of the technological level and material culture of the population that produced it. Moreover, the scientific analysis of ceramics are fundamental to define the provenance of the raw materials and consequently the reconstruction of relationships and commercial trades among populations.

The results of Zuckerman et al. (2010)[1] on Bronze age ceramics from different archaeological sites in the Northern Israel, allowed to define a production workshop in Berbati (near Mycene, in the region of Argolide). The data allowed to hypothesize the presence of commercial trades of specialized ceramics between Peloponnese and the Levantine coasts between 15th and 12th century BC.



[1] Zuckerman S., Ben-Shlomo D., Mountjoy P.A., Mommsen H. (2010). A provenance study of Mycenaean pottery from Northern Israel. Journal of Archaeological Science37, 409-416.

Image source(http://it.wikipedia.org/wiki/Venere_di_Doln%C3%AD_V%C4%9Bstonice#mediaviewer/File:Vestonicka_venuse.jpg)

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