Compositional and technological features of glazed pottery from Aosta Valley (Italy): a SEM–EDS investigation

Gulmini, Monica; Appolonia, Lorenzo; Framarin, Patrizia; Mirti, Piero
December 2006
Analytical & Bioanalytical Chemistry;Dec2006, Vol. 386 Issue 6, p1815
Academic Journal
Twelve finds from archaeological excavations carried out in the Aosta region (Italy) were studied by scanning electron microscopy coupled with energy-dispersive X-ray detection (SEM–EDS). The archaeological samples were shards of glazed pottery dating from the fourth to the seventh century AD. Analysis of ceramic bodies revealed a general homogeneity in composition among the studied samples and the use of a noncalcareous clay for their manufacture; however, two shards stand out due to their high iron contents. Glazes proved to be high-lead products with more than 70% PbO in all of the samples investigated but one. For the latter, a composition poorer in lead and richer in silicon, aluminium and iron was found. SEM observation of the contact region between body and glaze suggests that the vitreous coatings were mostly obtained by applying the glazing components onto the unfired clay body; moreover, a comparison between clay and glaze compositions suggests the use of a lead compound mixed with a silica-rich material, not a lead compound by itself.


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