PXRF analysis of pigments in decorations on ceramics in the East Mediterranean: A test-case on Cypro-Geometric and Cypro-Archaic Bichrome ceramics at Tel Dor, Israel

Shlomo Shoval, Ayelet Gilboa

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

As part of an attempt to identify the provenances and technology of pottery in Cypro-Geometric and Cypro-Archaic Bichrome styles at Tel Dor, Israel, the black and the red paint pigments and the ceramic body were analysed chemically by using a pXRF apparatus in a handheld configuration. This method enables analysis of the thin painted decoration directly on the surface of the vessels. As a comparison, we also analysed the fabric of the vessels, as well as comparative potential Cypriot pigment ores. The analyses reveal that the black paints consist of manganese-based pigments comprising manganese and iron. The red paints consist of iron-based pigments rich in iron and poor in manganese. In contrast, the ceramic body of the vessels is rich in silica and alumina and contains lesser concentrations of iron and only traces of manganese. The results demonstrate the utilization of Cypriot pigment ores (black umber and red ochre) for the painted decoration on these ceramics. Beyond the specific Tel Dor case, the results are intended to initiate a compositional data-base of pigments on East Mediterranean ceramics in the Bronze and Iron Ages. We argue that to serve this end the chemical data should be presented in detail, in order to enable future comparative studies.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)472-479
Number of pages8
JournalJournal of Archaeological Science: Reports
Volume7
DOIs
StatePublished - 1 Jun 2016

Keywords

  • Cypriot pottery
  • East-Mediterranean pottery
  • Iron Age
  • Iron-based pigment
  • Manganese-based pigment
  • Ochre ore
  • Paint pigment
  • Umber ore

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Archaeology
  • Archaeology

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