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date: 24 May 2022

Abstract and Keywords

Fabric description is fundamental to the characterization, technological analysis and provenance determination of archaeological ceramics. It encompasses description of the arrangement, size, shape, frequency and composition of ceramic material constituents. These properties are used to identify the raw materials, their processing, vessel construction methods, and firing conditions. The process of description should, so far as possible, be an objective record of observed fabric properties that is independent of interpretations concerning technology and provenance. Fabric descriptions are made of ceramics in hand specimen and of samples prepared as thin sections for examination under a polarizing microscope. Rapid evaluation of fabric properties in the field is achieved by studying hand specimens using a magnifying glass or stereomicroscope. Laboratory-based analysis of thin sections provides more accurate and comprehensive identification of fabric properties, especially mineral and rock fragments in coarse fabrics, in terms of qualitative and quantitative data.

Keywords: archaeological ceramics, mineral, rock, fabric description, raw materials, provenance, thin sections, fabric properties

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