Publications in Scientific Journals:

J.H. Sterba, H. Mommsen, G. Steinhauser, M. Bichler:
"The influence of different tempers on the composition of pottery";
Journal of Archaeological Science, 36 (2009), 1582 - 1589.

English abstract:
The modification of the raw clay by the potter to produce a paste suitable for the intended purposes adds a layer of obfuscation to the problem of provenancing the original clay source by chemical fingerprinting. By preparing different pastes from the same commercially available raw clay and their chemical analysis by Instrumental Neutron Activation Analysis, an experiment under controlled conditions (tempers, mixing ratios, firing temperatures and sampling methods) sheds light on the influence of different tempers.
The results show that two different sampling procedures (drilling and grinding) have almost no influence on the chemical fingerprint with the exception of the elemental concentrations of As, Zr, and Hf. This may be due to the volatility of the compounds (As) or the presence of zircon crystals (containing Zr and Hf) which are partly lost during drilling. Three different firing temperatures show no significant influence as well.
The application of the modified Mahalanobis distance introduced by Beier and Mommsen in 1995 as a statistical filter and the introduction of a `dilution factorŽ to the raw data show that the influence of quartz-dominated tempers can be filtered out of the data, resolving the underlying chemical fingerprint of the original clay source. At the same time, by mathematically removing the additional spread introduced by dilution, even subtle differences between similar pastes can be resolved by standard multivariate statistical means.

Instrumental Neutron Activation Analysis; Provenancing; Chemical Fingerprint; Ceramics; Statistical grouping

"Official" electronic version of the publication (accessed through its Digital Object Identifier - DOI)

Electronic version of the publication:

Created from the Publication Database of the Vienna University of Technology.