Journal article

Early vitrification stages identified in prehistoric earthenware ceramics from northern Chile via SEM

CA Bland, AL Roberts, RS Popelka-Filcoff, CM Santoro



Scanning electron microscopy (SEM) has been used to investigate ceramic vitrification stages since the 1970s, however its application has been primarily restricted to stoneware and high-fired ceramics. The purpose of this study was to determine whether stages of vitrification could also be identified in prehistoric low-fired archaeological earthenware ceramics via SEM using northern Chilen samples covering a period c. 2000 to 500 years BP as a case study. This was achieved by visually comparing microstructural changes between original and re-fired ceramic sherds. The microstructural changes identified in this study indicate that the potters who made these vessels achieved early stages of vit..

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University of Melbourne Researchers


Awarded by Fondecyt

Awarded by CONICYT/PIA

Funding Acknowledgements

Ashley Slattery is acknowledged for his assistance with SEM training and access. The authors also acknowledge the expertise, equipment and support provided by the Australian Microscopy and Microanalysis Research Facility (AMMRF) at Flinders University. Funding for the analysis was supported by an Australian Institute of Nuclear Science and Engineering (AINSE) Research Fellowship (Popelka- Filcoff). We particularly thank Chris Carter for providing access to the samples and for dealing with all ethical requirements and permits. Calogero Santoro is funded by a Fondecyt grant 1150763 and through the CONICYT/PIA Project SOC1405.