Skip to main content Accessibility help

Identifying the Mineralogy of Rock Temper in Ceramics Using X-Radiography

  • Christopher Carr (a1) and Jean-Christophe Komorowski (a2)


Industrial and medical x-radiography can be used in a manner analogous to back-scattered electron microscopy to identify the approximate mineralogy of rock temper particles in ceramics, but without their destruction by thin-sectioning, and at low cost. Particle traits similar to those used in petrography to identify a mineral are visible in a magnified x-radiograph. The traits include particle x-radiographic gray level, which varies with a particle’s mean atomic number, specific gravity, and mineralogy; size; morphology; cleavage; and internal texture. Blind tests are made to evaluate the specificity and accuracy of the method. Its utility is shown through a study of the exchange of Ohio Middle Woodland ceramics.

La radiografia-x industrial y médica puede ser usadas en manera análoga a la microscopía electrónica de barrido, para identificar la mineralogía de las partículas de roca usadas como desgrasantes en la cerámica. Con este estudio las muestras de cerámica se destruyen minimamente ya que solo es necesario cortar una sección delgada, además de que el proceso se realiza a un bajo costo. Las características de las partículas similares a las usadas en la petrografia para identificar un mineral son visibles en una radiografia-x amplificada. Estos razgos incluyen el nivel gris de la particula en la radiographía-x, que varía dependiendo de su número medio atómico, gravedad específica y mineralogía; tamaño; morfología; escisión; y textura interna. Se realizan “pruebas de ciego” para evaluar la especificidad y precisión del método. La utilidad se demuestra a través de un estudio del intercambio de cerámica en Ohio Middle Woodland.



Hide All
Bohannan, P. 1955 Some Principles of Exchange and Investment among the Tiv. American Anthropologist 57 : 6070.
Berry, L. G., Mason, B., and Dietrich, R. V 1983 Mineralogy. 2nd ed. Freeman, San Francisco.
Bimson, M. 1969 The Examination of Ceramics by X-Ray Powder Diffraction. Studies in Conservation 14 : 8589.
Bishop, R. L., Rands, R. L., and Holley, G. R. 1982 Ceramic Compositional Analysis in Archaeological Perspective. Advances in Archaeological Method and Theory 5 : 275330.
Brady, Nyle C. 1974 The Nature and Properties of Soils. 8th ed. Mac Millan, New York.
Braun, D. P. 1983 Pots as Tools. In Archaeological Hammers and Theories, edited by Moore, J. and Keene, A. S., pp. 107134. Academic Press, New York.
Braun, D. P. 1987 Coevolution of Sedentism, Pottery Technology, and Horticulture in the Central Midwest, 200 B. C. -A. D. 600. In Emergent Horticultural Economies of the Eastern Woodlands, edited by Keegan, W. F., pp. 153181. Occasional Papers No. 7. Center for Archaeological Investigations, Southern Illinois University, Carbondale.
Braun, D. P., and Plog, S. 1982 Evolution of “Tribal” Social Networks : Theory and Prehistoric North American Evidence. American Antiquity 47 : 504525.
Bronitsky, G. 1986 Experiments in Ceramic Technology : The Effects of Various Tempering Materials on Impact and Thermal-Shock Resistance. American Antiquity 51 : 7389.
Brose, David S. 1990 A Model of Exchange Values for the Eastern Woodlands. Mid-Continental Journal of Archaeology 15 : 100136.
Brown, James A. 1982 Mound City and the Vacant Ceremonial Center. Paper presented at the 47th Annual Meeting of the Society for American Archaeology, Minneapolis.
Brown, James A. 1984 Overview of the Archaeological Investigations of the Mound City Group National Monument. Manuscript on file, National Park Service, Midwestern Archaeological Center, Lincoln, Nebraska.
Burton, J. 1986 Selected Petrologic Applications of Backscattered Electron Imaging. Unpublished Ph. D. dissertation, Department of Geology, Arizona State University, Tempe.
Carneiro, R. 1972 From Autonomous Village to the State : A Numerical Estimation. In Population Growth : Anthropological Implications, edited by Spooner, B., pp. 6477. MIT Press, Cambridge, Massachusetts.
Carr, C. 1988 Ohio Woodland AMS and Beta Radiocarbon Dates. Manuscript on file, Department of Archaeology, Ohio Historical Center, Columbus.
Carr, C. 1990 Advances in Ceramic Radiography and Analysis : Applications and Potentials. Journal of Archaeological Science 17 : 1334.
Carr, C. 1992 Modeling the Evolution of Alliance Strategies as Systems Regulators in Egalitarian Societies. In Grants Completed; Biennial Report of the Wenner-Gren Foundation for Anthropological Research. Wenner-Gren Foundation, New York.
Carr, C. 1993 Identifying Individual Vessels with X-Radiography. American Antiquity 53 : 96117.
Carr, C, and Maslowski, R. 1995 Cordage and Fabrics : Relating Form, Technology, and Social Process. In Style, Society, and Person, edited by Carr, C. and Neitzel, J., pp. 297343. Plenum, New York.
Carr, C, and Riddick, E. B. 1990 Advances in Ceramic Radiography and Analysis : Laboratory Methods. Journal of Archaeological Science 17 : 3566.
Carr, C, and Sears, D. W G. 1985 Toward an Analysis of the Exchange of Meteoritic Iron in the Middle Woodland. Southeastern Archaeology 4 : 7992.
Chagnon, N. A. 1983 Yanomamo : The Fierce People. Holt, Rinehart, and Winston, New York.
Chayes, F. 1956 Petrographic Modal Analysis. John Wiley and Sons, New York.
Dancey, W. S. 1991a Middle Woodland Settlement in Central Ohio : A Preliminary Report on the Murphy Site (33LI212). Pennsylvania Archaeologist 61(2) : 3772. Eastman Kodak Company
Dancey, W. S. 1980 Radiography in Modern Industry. Eastman Kodak, Rochester, New York.
Elam, J. M., Carr, C., Glascock, M. D., and Neff, H. 1992 Ultrasonic Disaggregation and INAA of Textural Fractions of Tucson Basin and Ohio Valley Ceramics. In Chemical Characterization of Ceramic Pastes in Archaeology, edited by Neff, H., pp. 93112. Prehistory Press, Madison, Wisconsin.
Ford, R. I. 1974 Northeastern Archaeology : Past and Future Directions. Annual Review of Anthropology 3 : 385114.
Foradas, J. G. 1989 Sourcing of Flint Using Normative Mineral Compositions and the Scanning Electron Microprobe : An Experimental Study Using Flint Ridge Flint. Paper presented at the 54th Annual Meeting of the Society for American Archaeology, Atlanta, Georgia.
Foradas, J. G. 1994 Chert Acquisition for Ceremonial Bladelet Manufacture at Three Scioto Hopewell Sites. Ph. D. dissertation, Department of Anthropology, Ohio State University, Columbus.
Freestone, I., Johns, C., and Potter, T. (editors) 1982 Current Research in Ceramics : Thin Section Studies. Occasional Paper No. 32. British Museum, London.
Garrett, E. M. 1986a Petrographic Analysis of Black Mesa Ceramics. In Spatial Organization and Trade, edited by Plog, S., pp. 114142. Southern Illinois University Press, Carbondale.
Goldthwait, R. P., G. W White, and Forsyth, J. L. 1961 Miscellaneous Geological Investigations Map 1-316. Ohio Department of Natural Resources, Division of Water and Division of Geological Survey, Columbus.
Greber, N. 1979 Variations in Social Structure of Ohio Hopewell Peoples. Mid-Continental Journal of Archaeology 4(1) : 3578.
Griffin, J. B. 1965 Hopewell and the Dark Black Glass. Michigan Archaeologist 11 : 115155.
Griffin, J. B. 1973 Hopewell Non-exchange of Obsidian. Paper presented at the Northwestern University Archaeological Research Program Lecture Series, Archaeology and the Natural Sciences. Kampsville, Illinois.
Hall, M. G., and Lloyd, G. E. 1981 The SEM Examination of Geological Samples with a Semiconductor Back-Scattered Electron Detector. American Mineralogist 66 : 362368.
Halmshaw, R. 1982 Industrial Radiography. Applied Science Publishers, London.
Hatch, J. W., Michels, J. W., Stevenson, C. M., Scheetz, B. E. and Greidel, R. A., 1990 Hopewell Obsidian Studies : Behavioral Implications of Recent Sourcing and Dating Research. American Antiquity 55 : 461^(79.
Hodgman, C. D. (editor) 1948 Handbook of Chemistry and Physics. Chemical Rubber Company, Cleveland.
Isphording, W. C. 1974 Combined Thermal and X-Ray Diffraction Techniques for Identification of Ceramic Ware Temper and Paste Minerals. American Antiquity 39 : 477483.
Klein, C, and Hurlburt, C. S. Jr. 1985 Manual of Mineralogy (after James, D. Dana), 20th ed. John Wiley and Sons, San Francisco.
Komorowski, J. -C. 1991 Scanning Electron Microscopy of Pyroclastic Matter : Eruptions of Mount Vesuvius in A. D. 79 and Mount St. Helens in A. D. 1980. Unpublished Ph. D. dissertation, Department of Geology, Arizona State University, Tempe.
Krinsley, D. H., and Manley, C. R. 1989 Backscattered Electron Microscopy as an Advanced Technique in Petrography. Journal of Geological Education 37 : 202209.
Lloyd, G. E. 1987 Atomic Number and Crystallographic Contrast Images with the SEM : A Review of Backscatter Electron Techniques. Mineralogical Magazine 51 : 319.
Malinowski, B. 1961 Argonauts of the Western Pacific. E. P. Dutton, New York.
Pacheco, P. 1988 Ohio Middle Woodland Settlement Variability in the Upper Licking River Drainage. Journal of the Steward Anthropological Society 18 : 87117.
Pettijohn, F. J. 1975 Sedimentary Rocks. 3rd ed. Harper and Row, New York.
Plog, F. T. 1974 The Study of Prehistoric Change. Academic Press, New York.
Porter, J. W 1963 Bluff Pottery AnalysisThin Section Experiment 2 : Analysis of Bluff Pottery from the Mitchell Site, Madison County, Illinois. Research Report No. 4. Lithic Laboratory, Southern Illinois University Museum, Carbondale.
Prufer, O. 1964 The Hopewell Cult. Scientific American 211 : 90102.
Prufer, O. 1965 The McGraw Site : A Study in Hopewellian Dynamics. Cleveland Museum of Natural History Scientific Publications 4(1) : 1144.
Prufer, O. 1975 The Scioto Valley Archaeological Survey. In Studies in Ohio Archaeology, edited by Prufer, O. and McKenzie, D., pp. 267328. Kent State University Press, Kent, Ohio.
Pye, K., and Krinsley, D. H. 1984 Petrographic Examination of Sedimentary Rocks in the SEM Using Backscattered Electron Detectors. Journal of Sedimentary Petrology 54 : 877888.
Robinson, V N. E. 1980 Imaging with Backscattered Electrons in a Scanning Electron Microscope. Scanning 3 : 1526.
Robinson, B. W., and Nickel, E. H. 1979a Useful New Technique for Mineralogy : The Backscattered Electron/Low Vacuum Mode of the SEM Operation. American Mineralogist 64 : 13221328.
Rosman, A., and Rubel, P. 1971 Feasting with Mine Enemy. Columbia University Press, New York.
Rye, O. S. 1981 Pottery Technology. Taraxacum, Washington, D. C.
Seeman, M. F. 1979 The Hopewell Interaction Sphere : The Evidence for Inter-regional Trade and Structural Complexity. Prehistoric Research Series Vol. 5, No. 2. Indiana Historical Society, Indianapolis.
Seeman, M. F. 1988 Ohio Hopewell Trophy-Skull Artifacts as Evidence for Competition in Middle Woodland Societies Circa 50 B. C. -A. D. 350. American Antiquity 53 : 565577.
Service, E. R. 1971 Primitive Social Organization. Random House, New York.
Shepard, A. O. 1956 Ceramics for the Archaeologist. Carnegie Institution of Washington, Washington, D. C.
Shepard, A. O. 1976 Ceramics for the Archaeologist. Carnegie Institution of Washington, Washington, D. C.
Simon, A. 1988 Integrated Ceramic Analysis : An Investigation of Intersite Relationships in Central Arizona. Unpublished Ph. D. dissertation, Department of Anthropology, Arizona State University, Tempe.
Smith, B. 1992 Rivers of Change. Smithsonian Institution Press, Washington, D. C.
Stoltman, J. B. 1989a Quantitative Approach to the Petrographic Analysis of Ceramic Thin Sections. American Antiquity 54 : 147160.
Stoltman, J. B. 1991 Ceramic Petrography as a Technique for Documenting Cultural Interaction : An Example from the Upper Mississippi Valley. American Antiquity 56 : 103120.
Stout, W, Steeg, Ver, K., and Lamb, G. F. 1943 Geology of Water in Ohio. Bulletin 44. Ohio Division of Geological Survey, Columbus.
Struever, S., and Houart, G. 1972 An Analysis of the Hopewell Interaction Sphere. In Social Exchange and Interaction, edited by Wilmsen, E., pp. 4780. Anthropological Paper No. 46. Museum of Anthropology, University of Michigan, Ann Arbor.
Tite, M. S., Freestone, I. C., Meeks, N. D., and Bimson, M. 1982 The Use of Scanning Electron Microscopy in the Technological Examination of Archaeological Ceramics. In Archaeological Ceramics, edited by Olin, J. S. and Franklin, A. D. Smithsonian Institution Press, Washington, D. C.
Trigger, B. G. 1969 The Huron Farmers of the North. Holt, Rinehart, and Winston, New York.
Ver Steeg, K. 1946 The Teays River. Ohio Journal of Science 46 : 297307.
Vickery, K. V 1983 The Flint Sources. In Recent Excavations at the Edwin Harness Mound, by Greber, N., pp. 7385. Mid-Continental Journal of Archaeology, Special Paper No. 5. Kent State University Press, Kent, Ohio.
Weymouth, J. W. 1973 X-Ray Diffraction Analysis of Prehistoric Pottery. American Antiquity 38 : 339344.
Williams, D. F. 1983 Petrology of Ceramics. In Petrology of Archaeological Artefacts, edited by C, D. R.. Kempe and Harvey A. P., pp. 301329. Cambridge University Press, Cambridge.
Yeatts, M. L. 1990 A Chemical Characterization of the Ceramics from the McGraw Site in Ohio with the Electron Microprobe. Unpublished Master's thesis, Department of Anthropology, Arizona State University, Tempe.
Zingg, T. H. 1935 Beitrage zur Schotteranalyse. Mineralogische und Petrographische Mitteilungen Schweizerische 15 : 39140.


Full text views

Total number of HTML views: 0
Total number of PDF views: 0 *
Loading metrics...

Abstract views

Total abstract views: 0 *
Loading metrics...

* Views captured on Cambridge Core between <date>. This data will be updated every 24 hours.

Usage data cannot currently be displayed