Hemijska industrija 2008 Volume 62, Issue 3, Pages: 138-142
doi:10.2298/HEMIND0803138Z
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Investigation of medieval ceramics from Ras by physicochemical methods

Zindović Nataša D., Damjanović Ljiljana S., Holclajtner-Antunović Ivanka D., Mioč Ubavka B., Bajuk-Bogdanović Danica

Although early medieval Serbian ceramic is well described by the archeologists and historians, knowledge of the Balkan ceramic production is still limited. Archaeometric study of ceramics provenance, technology of preparation and used pigments as well as influence of neighboring countries and specific characteristics of different workshops has never been performed so far. The detailed knowledge of the micro-chemical and micro-structural nature of an archaeological artifact is critical in finding solutions to problems of restoration, conservation, dating and authentication in the art world. In this work we present results of systematic investigation of pottery shards from archeological site Ras. The term Ras, which signifies both the fortress and the region encompassing the upper course of Raška River, used to be the center of the medieval Serbian state. Both the ceramic body and the polychromatic glaze of the artifacts were studied by a multianalitical approach combining optical microscopy (OM), FT-IR spectroscopy and X-ray fluorescence (XRF). Mineralogical composition of pottery shards has been determined combining results obtained by FT-IR spectroscopy, after deconvolution of the spectra, and XRPD analysis. Firing temperature has been estimated based on the mineralogical composition and positions of Si-O stretching (-1000 cm-1) and banding (-460 cm-1) vibrations. Investigated samples have been classified into two groups based on the mineralogical composition, cross sections and firing temperature. Larger group consists of samples of fine-grained, homogeneous ceramics with firing temperatures bellow 800 °C which indicates imported products. Second, smaller group consists of inhomogeneous ceramics with firing temperatures between 850 and 900 °C produced in the domestic workshops. The obtained results will be used to build up a national database for the compositions of bodies, glazes and pigments.

Keywords: medieval ceramics, RAS, FT-IR spectroscopy, XRF, firing temperature

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