Basic Ceramic Paste Characterization

This is our most economical standard service. It is designed to provide a baseline of quantitative and qualitative data on a ceramic sample. Results of this analysis will allow the researcher to accurately and precisely describe the physical characteristics of a sample, such as type, volume and size range of temper and porosity of paste.    

 

Included in Analysis:

  • Modal analysis (see Techniques of Thin-Section Microscopy)
  • Minimum 200 points counted (±2%-7% reliability at 95% confidence)
  • Type of inclusion/temper, e.g. sand, grit (crushed rock), grog (crushed pottery), etc.
  • Volumetric proportion (modes) of inclusion/temper, void and silt.
  • A list of recognized mineral and rock types
  • A textural, or grain-size analysis, using the Wentworth Grain-Size classification
  • A brief descriptive report of the analysis including at least two photomicrographs of each thin-section

Not Included in Analysis:

  • Identification of each inclusion to mineral or rock type
  • Modes of minerals and rocks
  • Statistical comparison with known petrofacies (i.e. sourcing)

Advanced Ceramic Paste Characterization

 The advanced service is designed specifically for resource provenance studies, but is also suitable for detailed description of archaeological ceramics in general. If the goal is to “source” the pottery then either additional sediment samples must be provided for Grain Mount Characterization, or previously published studies must be provided with which to compare the ceramic thin-section.

 

Included in Analysis:

  • Modal and/or Traverse analysis depending on sample size and volume of inclusions/temper
  • Minimum of 400 points counted (1%-5% reliability at 95% confidence) for modal analysis
  • Minimum of 400 grains identified for traverse analysis
  • Identification of inclusion/temper type, e.g. sand, grit (crushed rock), grog (crushed pottery), etc.
  • Calculation of inclusion/temper, void and silt modes.
  • Identification of each inclusion to mineral or rock type
  • Calculation of mineral and rock modes
  • A textural, or grain-size analysis, using the Wentworth Grain-Size classification
  • Statistical comparison with known petrofacies (i.e. sourcing) if applicable
  • A brief descriptive report of the analysis including at least two photomicrographs of each thin-section

Grain Mount Characterization

This service is provided as part of a resource provenance study. Please read the Sample Selection Guidelines prior to submission of samples. It is necessary to either provide us with a ceramic sample along with the sediment sample or to call ahead with information pertaining to the grain-size of inclusions in the ceramics in order that we may select the most appropriate grain-size for the analysis.

 

Included in the Analysis:

  • Modal and/or Traverse analysis depending on which method is required for the Advanced Ceramic Characterization
  • Minimum of 400 points counted (1%-5% reliability at 95% confidence) for modal analysis
  • Minimum of 400 grains identified for traverse analysis
  • Identification of each inclusion to mineral or rock type
  • Calculation of mineral and rock modes
  • Statistical comparison with ceramic samples
  • A brief descriptive report of the analysis including at least two photomicrographs of each thin-section

Lithic Textural Analysis

This service is provided for the analysis of coarse-grained chipped stone such as quartzite or orthoquartzite. Previous studies have shown that macroscopically indistinguishable quartzites can be differentiated based on textural characteristics such as grain-size, sphericity, roundness and the presence of accessory minerals.

 

Included in Analysis:

  • Modal analysis
  • Minimum of 400 points counted (1%-5% reliability at 95% confidence) for modal analysis
  • Identification of mineral or rock type present in sample
  • Calculation of mineral and rock modes
  • Grain-size analysis, using the Wentworth Grain-Size classification
  • Sphericity and roundness analysis
  • Statistical comparison with previously published studies, if applicable
  • A brief descriptive report of the analysis including at least two photomicrographs of each thin-section