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date: 28 January 2021

Abstract and Keywords

X-ray powder diffraction (XRPD) is an important tool to determine the phase composition of archaeological ceramics. In principle, a thin beam of X-rays incident to a lattice plane of crystalline matter is scattered in specific directions and angles depending on the distances of atoms. This allows determination of characteristic unit cell dimensions and serves to unambiguously identify crystalline phases in the ceramics. In this chapter, generation of X-rays and the theory of diffraction will be briefly discussed as well as equipment, focusing conditions, and sample preparation procedures of common XRPD methods. The X-ray pattern obtained will provide an analytical fingerprint that can be matched against the Powder Diffraction File of the International Centre for Diffraction Data. Examples will be given of application of this analytical technique to archaeological clays and ceramics.

Keywords: X-ray powder diffraction, generation of X-rays, theory of diffraction, clays, archaeological ceramics

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