A multi-analytical archaeometric approach to study white inlay decorations in Bell Beaker pottery from Broudek u Prostějova (Czech Republic)



Year of publication 2018
Type Appeared in Conference without Proceedings
MU Faculty or unit

Faculty of Arts

Description The aim of this study is to analyze white inlay decorations found on pottery from 3 cenotaph deposits dated to the Bell Beaker culture (2500-2200 BC). The cenotaph deposits were found during a rescue excavation campaign carried out in 2015 close to Broudek u Prostějova in Central Moravia region. The cenotaph deposits were related to a wooden monumental structure (Fojtík 2015). There were found metal (gold, silver), jade and bone (beads), stone wrist-guards and stone arrow heads, an amphora wrapped in the textile and several other ceramic artefacts with typologies pertaining to the Bell Beaker culture. These materials suggest rich male graves from the early phase of Bell Beaker culture (Grömer et al. 2016). While engraved decorations on pottery showing a characteristic white inlay material are a common feature present on Bell Beaker vessels, the materials and the manufacturing process to produce the white decorations may have been locally. In the context of Bell Beaker culture in the Morava river catchment, the use of kaolin, bone material, carbonates, gypsum plaster or mixture of some of those materials has been reported (Všianský et al. 2014). In this study, a multi-analytical protocol combining micro- XRD, micro-FTIR and SEM-EDS techniques was used. Results indicate the white inlay to be made of mainly hydroxyapatite (Ca 5 (PO 4 ) 3 (OH,F,Cl) and calcite. Preliminary results suggest that the most likely production process of the white decorations in the Central Moravia region involved crushing bone material to create a slurry which was then applied to the vessel.

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