The effects of ceramic manufacturing behaviour on identifying clay sources: petrographic and chemical analyses of the modern Zulu ceramic production process in the Thukela River Basin, South Africa

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Middleton, Emma C.
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This thesis aims to evaluate the compositional changes that occur when raw clays are transformed into finished vessels, and how these compositional changes impact provenance research. Petrographic and chemical techniques are used to analyse clays at each stage in the production sequence used by Zulu potters in KwaZulu-Natal, South Africa. The results of this research demonstrate that tempering behaviour, particularly the mixing of clays, can significantly alter the composition of ceramic vessels, depending on the ratio of clay types. The provenance of mixed clays and vessels can be determined when the range of variation between clay sources is known. Different ratios of constituent clays significantly affect the composition of finished vessels.
archaeology, ceramic characterization, provenance, South Africa