Bellido, A. V. B.
1989 Neutron Activation Analysis of Ancient Egyptian Pottery. Unpublished Ph.D. Thesis, University of Manchester, UK.


The work was concerned with compositional analysis of archaeological ceramics from the Nile Valley and surrounding region. This is a vital step in the tracing patterns of ceramic production in Ancient Egypt, a topic which has not been investigated in any detail because of the apparent physical homogeneity of the raw materials. For this reason a large number of elements (22) was measured by neutron activation to give maximum differentiation between the samples. Multivariate clustering methods were used to identify sample groups on the basis of their composition. The main aim of the work was to examine the basis of the fabric classification procedure known as the Vienna System, in terms of the elemental composition of the ceramics. This was achieved, not only in terms of the major fabric groups (Nile alluvium and Marl clays) but also in finer detail. The composition of these Egyptian pottery sherds is therefore a complex function of the fabric and of the geographical origin (provenance) since clay compositions vary from place to place. In the case of the Marl fabrics, the compositional variations associated with the fabric are large and overshadow variations arising from provenance, whereas for the Nile alluvium pottery, fabric and provenance variations were more equal.

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