Dating pottery

Healthy profits are to be made from illicitly plundered ancient sites or selling skillfully made forgeries.Archaeology dating techniques can assure buyers that their item is not a fake by providing scientific reassurance of the artefact's likely age.

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Hunter-gatherers living in glacial conditions produced pots for cooking fish, according to the findings of a pioneering new study which reports the earliest direct evidence for the use of ceramic ...

When museums and collectors purchase archaeological items for their collections they enter an expensive and potentially deceptive commercial fine arts arena.

The prominence of animal fats at these sites is consistent with their wide range of potential uses in antiquity — as lubricants, waterproofing agents, cosmetics, ointments, perfumes, varnishes, etc.

"Pottery is unusual in that you get these lipids absorbed into the fabric, because most interesting pottery of any respectable age is unglazed," Evershed says. They assigned a date using the new method and then compared their findings to the historical date verified previously by association with organic artifacts.

"A lot of Egyptian mummies were exported out of Egypt by the Victorians, and they often applied modern treatments to preserve them," Evershed says.

The researchers hope to distinguish between a modern treatment and the original embalming agent.

In earlier research, Evershed and his colleagues examined organic residues from pottery from Neolithic, Bronze Age and Iron Age sites in Britain, and they found the first direct evidence that people were dairying as early as 6,000 years ago.

During this analysis, they realized that lipids, or animal fats, are preserved in large enough quantities to be dated with radiocarbon methods.

That's where the appeal of having a technique like this comes in." Until now, there has been no direct method for chemically dating pottery.

Previous researchers have analyzed residues found on the surfaces of pots, but these residues have been in direct contact with the soil and are likely to be contaminated, according to Evershed.

Archaeologists have unearthed the oldest known pottery from Papua New Guinea in a surprisingly remote location in the rugged highlands.