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Microstructural, Mineralogical and Petrographical Characteristics of the Medieval Ceramics from the Studenica Monastery (UNESCO World Heritage Site): Implications on the Pottery Technology and Provenance of The Raw Material

  • Kristina Šarić (a1), Vesna Bikić (a2) and Suzana Erić (a1)


On the basis of optical microscopy, scanning electron microscopy with energy-dispersive spectrometry and X-ray powder diffraction analyses, we present detailed mineralogical and petrographical characteristics of 63 samples of cooking and tablewares, which originate from two Medieval horizons (S1 and S2) in the Studenica Monastery, as well as of three samples of clays regarded as possible pottery raw material. The composition of the ceramic matrix is compatible with the composition of local clay and clasts that reflect the geology of the Studenica’s surroundings. This indicates that almost all studied vessels are unequivocally made locally. However, four wares may represent imports because they show similarities with Byzantine sgraffito wares, and ceramics from the Peloponnese (13th century). In terms of technological and morphological characteristics, the studied pottery collection represents a standardized production. Firing temperatures, estimated according to the level of matrix crystallinity, mineral reactions, and the mode of the appearance of fracture surfaces, indicate that most of cooking wares were fired at 600–700°C. All glazed wares, including tablewares and cooking pots from both S1 and S2, were fired at minimum 800–900°C. Along with technological and morphological standardization the characteristics of the studied collection show knowledge of traditional skills as well as trends within the Byzantine artistic craft circle.


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*Author for correspondence: Kristina Šarić, E-mail:


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Cite this article: Šarić K, Bikić V and Erić S (2018) Microstructural, Mineralogical and Petrographical Characteristics of the Medieval Ceramics from the Studenica Monastery (UNESCO World Heritage Site): Implications on the Pottery Technology and Provenance of the Raw Material. Microsc Microanal24(6), 744–761. doi: 10.1017/S1431927618015349



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