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date: 03 March 2021

Abstract and Keywords

This chapter provides an introduction to mechanical and thermal properties of archaeological ceramics, which are of importance for a ceramic’s affordances and affect its suitability to be used in different activities. An overview of thermal and mechanical properties, namely fracture strength and fracture energy (toughness), thermal shock resistance and thermal conductivity, is provided, outlining the underlying principles of these properties and test methods typically used to measure them. Emphasizing the importance of potter’s choices during manufacture on the finished products’ material properties, the influence of different manufacturing parameters, in particular firing and tempering strategies, is discussed and underlying principles and mechanisms, which are applicable to a wide variety of commonly encountered archaeological ceramics, are elucidated.

Keywords: material properties, strength, toughness, thermal shock resistance, thermal conductivity

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