5th Experimental Archaeology Conference Poster Abstract – Lisa-Marie Shillito et al

From the 5th Experimental Archaeology Conference, Reading, 2011.

Combining the visual and the chemical: a comparison of infra-red spectroscopic and micromorphological observations of experimentally fired clays from Silchester, UK

Lisa-Marie Shillito(1), John Allen(2), Matthew Almond(3), Rowena Banerjea(2) & Wendy Matthews(2)

1) Department of Archaeology, University of York, 2) Department of Archaeology, University of Reading, and 3) Department of Chemistry, University of Reading

Infra red spectroscopy of archaeological materials is becoming increasingly recognised as a rapid and useful technique. As well as enabling the characterisation of materials such as plasters, pigments and resins for example, FT-IR has been used in studies of ancient pyrotechnology as it is able to distinguish properties of clay which alter at specific temperatures. Petrographic techniques have long been established for estimation of the firing technology and ancient ceramics. This poster aims to compare the two approaches and assess whether visible changes in clay properties are related to detectable chemical alterations under controlled firing experiments. The implications of this for the interpretation of a range of clay materials in thin section will be discussed.

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