Thursday, May 28, 2015

Archaeometrics - Beaker Pottery in the 3rd Millennium (Salanova et al)

This study by Salanova, Prieto, Clop, Convertini, Lantes and Martinez looks at the elemental composition of 1,129 pottery artifacts and inlay paste from the area seen below.

Fig 1.  The Nine Study Areas.
Conclusions from the paper:
"The results of the research allow us to confirm and further refine a model of the circulation mechanisms of Bell Beakers that was published several years ago...  This model proposed three types of pottery circulation to explain the wide distribution of this style: the circulation of pots when techniques, style and raw materials are locally unknown, despite having raw materials locally available; and the circulation of ideas when the Bell Beaker style has obviously influenced the potters, who carried on with their own local traditions."
"The circulation of pots, despite being a rare occurrence, has been well and truly confirmed.  Here, we can distinguish between the displacement of pots for special occasions and the movement of one part of the domestic vessels with the mobility of groups."
"The circulation of potters is also confirmed.  The three Dutch AOO beakers from northern France with their local raw materials clearly refer to the foreign potters who produced outside their traditional sphere... The exchange network for flint daggers that developed during the third millennium BC from Grand-Pressigny (central France) to the Netherlands and Germany could explain the presence of these foreign potters..."
"The combination of XRD [X-ray powder defraction] and TSPA [Thin Section Petrographic Analysis] made it possible to verify their complementarity, as some minerals, such as chorite, talc and kaolinite, were only detected by XRD.  The use of TS-PA alone is unlikely to lead to the detection of these phyllosilicates, due to their small grain size.  In contrast, other inclusions such as rock fragments (granite, mica schists), plant remains, charcoal and grog could only be detected by TS-PA.  Due to the complementary technique of TS-PA, it was also possible to verify the intentional addition of tempers made of quartz, mica and rounded iron nodules (Garcia-Heras et al. 2009)"
To summarize, it is demonstrated that (1) pottery circulated, albeit at low levels (2) Beaker potters circulated, who then used local materials to make Beaker pottery (3) native potters contributed to the regional flavor of Beaker pottery, which itself sometimes spread.

Beaker Blog on pottery
[Tablet Weaves and Pottery]
[The Media and The Message]
[The Copper Color of Beaker Pottery]
[Cerveza for Your Ciempozuelos]

What are large-scale Archaeometric programmes for? Bell beaker pottery and societies from the third millennium BC in Western Europe. Salanova, L., Prieto-Martínez, M. P., Clop-García, X., Convertini, F., Lantes-Suárez, O., and Martínez-Cortizas, A. (2015) doi: 10.1111/arcm.12173.

"Variability in clay processing recipes for pottery is still at a descriptive stage as far as prehistoric contexts are concerned. This paper intends to go beyond our traditional limits, based on the best-documented case for prehistory, the Bell Beaker style, which spread throughout the whole of Europe during the third millennium bc. The thousands of archaeometric analyses that have been carried out on the main concentrations from France, Spain and Portugal are taken into account in order to reconstruct the circulation mechanisms of the pottery and the social organization of the communities who used it."

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