Measurement of trace element concentrations by neutron activation analysis has been used to study the provenance of two types of ancient pottery.
The first study was carried out on a type of pottery dating from about the eleventh to ninth centuries B.C. and known as Black-on-Red ware. Thies is found widely distributed over the Middle East. The trace element concentrations indicate a relatively small number of manufacturing sites with probable locations in Cyprus, Syria and Palestine. There is also evidence of trading, particularly between Cyprus and Syria.
The second study was on North African coarse pottery of the Roman era. The results here point to a major manufacturing center at Oudna (about twenty miles from the ancient city of Carthage). Pottery found in Carthage was made at Oudna and probably also at two other sites which have not yet been located.