Publication details

Continuity and changes of manufacturing traditions of Bell Beaker and Bronze Age encrusted pottery in the Morava river catchment (Czech Republic)

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Year of publication 2014
Type Article in Periodical
Magazine / Source Journal of Archaeological Science
MU Faculty or unit

Faculty of Arts

Field Archaeology, anthropology, ethnology
Keywords Encrusted pottery; Bell Beaker pottery; 3rd and 2nd millennium BC; Copper Age; Early Bronze Age; X-ray diffraction
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Description The white inlayed decorations represent a distinctive phenomenon of prehistoric Europe, and are known to have been produced in diverse areas since the Neolithic. This paper reveals how the raw materials were gathered and utilized, as well as the complex technological processes of the inlay decorations, from the period of their widest production and use. A large set of shards of Late Copper Age Bell Beakers and Early Bronze Age vessels from Moravia (Czech Republic) were examined, with a focus on material analyses of the white inlay decorations. Based on x-ray diffraction analyses, five technology groups were defined: kaolin, bone material, carbonates, gypsum plaster, and mixtures of some of those materials. The gypsum plaster inlay represents the oldest evidence of gypsum production and application in Central Europe. The results indicate both regional and chronological aspects in the selection of the raw materials. In contrast to the bone and gypsum, the kaolin inlay was not thermally treated. Based on the physical properties of bones and the crystallinity of bone hydroxylapatite, it can be presumed that the encrusting slurry was prepared out of fired bones. These facts prove a knowledge of the different properties of the individual raw materials; hence, the need for different production chains.
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