Dating techniques for ceramics
Pottery and especially pottery sherds most often present at archaeological sites worldwide.They are preserved for long because of physical parameters of their matrix.Application of radiocarbon in the case gives a hope for site dating. Results and methods in the radiocarbon dating of pottery.
The researchers have developed the first direct method for dating pottery by examining animal fats preserved inside the ceramic walls.
"We're taking a piece of pot and grinding it to a powder, and then extracting lipid that's penetrated right down into the fabric." The researchers used a technique called preparative capillary gas chromatography to isolate the lipids, then they radiocarbon dated purified compounds with an accelerator mass spectrometer located at the Oxford University Radiocarbon Accelerator Unit. In all cases, their results were in good agreement with the sample history.
The researchers analyzed 15 pieces of pottery — mostly cooking jars and bowls — ranging in age from 4,000 B. The analysis requires partial destruction of the artifacts, but the researchers didn't run into much opposition along the way.
Archaeologists have long dated sites by the visual appearance of pottery fragments found around the site.
The new analytical technique will allow archaeologists to more accurately determine the age of pottery and, by extension, the age of associated artifacts and sites.
The method could eventually be used for a variety of other analyses.