Oladipo, M. O. A.
1987 Trace Element Analysis of Corinthian Pottery and Related Clays. Unpublished Ph.D. Thesis, University of Manchester, UK.


The main aim of this work was to investigate the relationships between the chemical composition of a number of clay sources possibly used for pottery production in ancient Greece and of several types of ancient ceramic material. The instrumental neutron activation analysis (INAA) was used in the quantitative determination of twenty-two chemical element concentration in clays from various lignite associated clay beds in Greece and in pottery dating 7th to 3rd centuries B.C. Multiple analyses of samples have established that neutron activation is acceptably precise for most of the elements measured. Rigorous statistical treatment of the clay data by cluster analysis using Ward's method and the RELOC (k-means) procedure unveiled the presence of eight chemical groups: Aetopetra, Solomos, Mouzakion, Megalopolis, Prosilio, Kokkinarea, Kato-Alepochori and East of Serres. The same statistical treatment of the pottery data clearly separated Corinthian Type A amphorae from Corinthian Type B amphorae. This would suggest that the ancient Corinthian potter employed at least two different clay sources for the production of these two types of amphorae. Prior to relating the pottery to the clay sources, the question of variability of the clay sources was considered. It was found that Aetopetra, Solomos, Mouzakion, Megalopolis, Kato-Alepochori, Kokkinarea and East of Serres clay beds were fairly homogeneous thus making the allocation of pottery to these sites based on chemical characterization fairly straightforward. However, large inhomogeneities were observed for Prosilio clay bed. Finally, comparison of clay and pottery groups was carried out using the discriminant analysis technique. It was found that clay sources outside the Peloponnese region of Greece, (i.e.East of Serres, Prosilio, Kokkinarea and Kato Alepochori) were not used for the Corinthian pottery studied here. Further, investigation revealed a strong match between Megalopolis clays and Corinthian Type A amphorae, whereas Corinthian Type B amphorae were not associated with any of the clays analysed in this work.