Leave no mudstone unturned: geochemical provenancing reveals potters' choices and interactions in Late Bronze Age Cyprus

Research output: Unpublished contribution to conferenceUnpublished abstract

Abstract

Ceramic fabrics bearing mudstone inclusions (either naturally existing in the clay or added as temper) are attested in several Late Bronze Age (LBA) sites in South-Western Cyprus (1450-1100 B.C.). Recent petrographic research revealed that fabrics like these exist in both calcareous and non-calcareous clay matrix variants and are represented in a variety of vessel shapes (storage pithoi, Plain White Wheel-made II jugs, Base Ring juglets), indicating the existence of an on-going tradition.

Mudstone sources can be recognized within specific geological units of Cyprus, associated either with the Mammonia terrane (radiolarian mudstones of the Ayios Fotios formation or within the Kathikas mélange) or with the Troodos ophiolite (within the Perapedhi formation or the Moni mélange). Petrographic and elemental data were as of now unable to provenance the mudstone inclusions and, therefore, could not unambiguously link sherds to specific sources. The distinct nature and geological evolution of the mudstone outcrops, however, makes this an ideal case for the application of alternative techniques, such as isotopic analysis, in order to distinguish between them.

In this study, we analyzed ceramic sherds representing different fabrics from the assemblages of Alassa - Pano Mandilaris, Alassa - Paliotaverna, Episkopi - Bamboula and Palaeaphos - Marchello. Non mudstone-bearing samples were included as references for the local clays used at each site. Moreover, geological samples from relevant clay-bearing formations around the sites and possible mudstone sources were analyzed as well. Sr and Pb isotopic data for this sample set are interpreted alongside previously conducted petrographic and elemental analysis in an attempt to trace the provenance of the mudstone inclusions and clay sources. The results shed light on the choices potters were making regarding raw material acquisition, as well as on possible interactions between the sites within the region.
Original languageEnglish
Publication statusPublished - Sep 2014
EventNARNIA International Conference: ‘Interdisciplinary Studies of Ancient Materials from the Mediterranean’ - Nicosia, Cyprus
Duration: 17 Sep 201419 Sep 2014

Conference

ConferenceNARNIA International Conference: ‘Interdisciplinary Studies of Ancient Materials from the Mediterranean’
CountryCyprus
CityNicosia
Period17/09/1419/09/14

Keywords

  • ceramics
  • isotopes
  • temper
  • mudstones
  • Cyprus
  • Late Bronze Age

Fingerprint

Dive into the research topics of 'Leave no mudstone unturned: geochemical provenancing reveals potters' choices and interactions in Late Bronze Age Cyprus'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this