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date: 13 December 2019

Abstract and Keywords

Evaluating uncertainties in experimental results is an indispensable task since it can affect the statistical treatment and interpretation of data. This chapter focuses on the possible sources of variability and uncertainty in the chemical characterization of archaeological ceramics. A data set with a high degree of uncertainty and/or one in which the uncertainty is unrelated to cultural factors or inherent variability, such as geochemical heterogeneity, can easily be misinterpreted leading to incorrect answers to archaeological questions. Sources of uncertainty, natural, cultural, post-depositional, and uncertainty related to sampling and analytical instrumentation, are discussed. Finally, the impact of uncertainty on archaeological ceramic studies is addressed, with particular emphasis on grouping samples of similar chemical composition.

Keywords: ceramics, chemical characterization, natural variation, cultural variation, post-depositional effects, sampling uncertainties, analytical uncertainties

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