Archaeometry of ancient ceramics
Pottery is one of the most important sources of information for studying ancient cultures, because it was daily used to store dry substances, to carry liquids and to heat liquid or solid substances over a fire. From the historical point of view, fired earthenware (ceramics) was not widely utilized until the Neolithic (in Switzerland from the end of 5th/beginning of 4th millenium BC), due to the fact that the properties of such a fragile material with limited shock resistance were more valuable for settled farming communities than nomadic hunters and gatherers. Usually, a vast amount of broken pots are collected during archeological diggings. These ceramic fragments are subsequently analysed using an archeological or art-historical approach, but also by scientific methods.
At the Mineralogy and Petrography unit of the University of Friburg (Switzerland), a working group has been studying the mineralogic, petrographic, chemical and technological aspects of such objects since 1974.
This site provides a general introduction on the archaeometry of ceramics and more specific outlines on our current research, our laboratory facilities, the reference groups and our recent publications.