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Geoarchaeology Developing a Method for Provenancing of Hong Kong Pre-historic Ceramics by Fabric Analysis and Geochemical Methods
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Geoarchaeology Developing a Method for Provenancing of Hong Kong Pre-historic Ceramics by Fabric Analysis and Geochemical Methods

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Abstract ...

Abstract

Applying geological techniques to archaeological problems such that physical and cultural landscapes of the past can be reconstructed.

Develop a framework for the geological investigation of archaeological ceramic materials

Petrography and Geochemistry: (1) Compilation of a Preliminary Dataset; (2) Results show a correlation of typology to composition, but artefact assemblages across Hong Kong do not reflect source area

Conclusion: This approach is useful to provenance studies, although conclusive results require further work.

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Geoarchaeology Developing a Method for Provenancing of Hong Kong Pre-historic Ceramics by Fabric Analysis and Geochemical Methods Geoarchaeology Developing a Method for Provenancing of Hong Kong Pre-historic Ceramics by Fabric Analysis and Geochemical Methods Presentation Transcript

  • Geoarchaeology – Developing a Method for Provenancing of Hong Kong Pre-historic Ceramics by Fabric Analysis and Geochemical Methods Chiu Hon Chim EASC 3305 Geology Project 21 April 2005
  • Abstract
    • Applying geological techniques to archaeological problems physical and cultural landscapes of the past can be reconstructed.
    • Developed a framework for the geological investigation of archaeological ceramic materials
        • Petrography and Geochemistry
        • Compilation of a Preliminary Dataset
    • Results show a correlation of typology to composition
      • but artefact assemblages across Hong Kong do not reflect source area
    • This approach is useful to provenance studies, although conclusive results require further work.
  • Introduction
  • Objectives
    • The principal objective:
      • to develop and apply a methodology for systematic description and analysis
      • establishing a reference fabric and geochemical database
    • Pottery styles (typologies) are often similar or imitated
      • not always easy to recognise imported ware
    • SH – 10 Soft Geometric
    • SH-08 Coarse Corded
    • LKT – 06 Hard Geometric
  •  
    • Migration and trade within pre-historic communities of Hong Kong and South China can be addressed through provenancing of local archaeological materials.
    • There has been no work to date on rigorous provenancing of this material
      • Even with a large record of prehistoric sites, artefacts and pottery!
  • Methods
    • Site Selection
    • Fabric Analysis
    • Geochemistry
  • Site Selection Lung Kwu Tan Sha Ha Jurassic and Cretaceous aged volcanics dominantly rhyodacite to rhyolite coarse ash crystal tuff belonging to the Long Harbour Formation of the Repulse Bay Group. Jurassic and Cretaceous age granite belonging to the Tsing Shan Formation
  • Techniques Fabric Analysis Hand Sample Examination Natural Face Description Petrographic Descriptions Break sherd Thin Section Preparation Inclusions: Rock Fragments, Minerals, Grogs etc Matrix: C/F Ratio, voids, cracks, structure/texture
  • Techniques Geochemical Analysis Sample collection Wash in warm hydrochloric acid Ground to powder using agate mortar 0.025 gm for ICP-MS 1 gm for EDAX (ANU)
  • Results and Discussion
  • Fabric Analysis
    • Three distinct compositional groups were identified.
    • Group A
    • Sherds that contain quartz clots, feldspars and mica.
    • SH-01, SH-02, SH-03, SH-05, SH-06, SH-08, SH-09, SH-10, SH-11 (Represents both soft geometric and coarse corded)
    • Quartz Clots, SH-11 (5x, XPL)
    • Albite and microcline phenocrysts in SH-08 (5x, XPL)
    • Group B
    • Sherds that contain whole quartz crystals, epidotes, mica and no feldspars at all.
    • LKT-01, LKT-03, LKT-04, LKT-02,LKT-05, LKT-06
    • (Represents all typologies: hard geometric, soft geometric and coarse corded)
  • Quartz in Group B, LKT-05 (5x, PPL)
    • Group C
    • Sherds that contain only quartz crystals, mica and no feldspars and epidotes at all, with a hard texture and with a small grain size in the fine component.
    • SH-04, SH-07, LKT-07
    • (All are hard geometric sherds)
  • Findings from fabrics: Compositional Groups (1)
    • Only Group B contains sherds of all typologies.
    • Characteristic mineral in each group
      • Quartz clots usually large, must be intentionally added (tempers)
      • Epidotes, nearer to matrix
      • unintentional inclusions, as sieving is rarely effective enough to eliminate them during the preparation of raw materials.
  • Findings from fabrics: Compositional Groups (2)
    • Groups A and B,
      • typology does not correlate to fabric composition,
    • Group C
      • composition and typology do correlate
      • hard geometric ware may represent use of particular raw material types
      • May reporesent development in technology, esp. material selection
  • Findings from fabrics: Compositional Groups (3)
    • Fabric analysis shows that sherds in each of the fabric groups (Groups A through C) have mineral assemblages that are compatible with derivation from local lithologies.
      • Quartz, feldspar and mica could be derived from volcanics and granites
      • epidote suggests derivation from granitic or metamorphosed lithologies.
  • Findings from fabrics: Compositional Groups (4)
    • Only one sherd within Group A contains rock fragments (micro-crystalline quartz and feldspar) strongly suggesting a volcanic source.
    • This data alone, however, is not conclusive proof of local provenance
  • Geochemical Signature of Compositional Groups Bivariate Plot of Sr vs Sc. Circles define compositional fields for fabric groups A, B and C respectively. Data reported in ppm.
  • Bivariate Plot of Ba vs Rb. Circles define compositional fields for fabric groups A, B and C respectively. Data reported in ppm.
  • Bivariate Plot of Sr vs Rb. Circles define compositional fields for fabric groups A, B and C respectively. Data reported in ppm.
  • Interpretations
    • Immobile elements, not affected by weathering and erosion
    • Variability
      • Group A greatest
      • Group C restricted
    • Groups reasonably compositionally distinct, (esp Group B)
  • Geochemical data compared to hinterland geological data Bivariate plot of Rb vs Sr. Whole rock geochemical data from Sewell &Campbell, 2001. Circles define composition field of local rock formation (upper circle = granite; lower circle = volcanic). All data reported in ppm.
  • Geochemical data compared to hinterland geological data Bivariate plot of Ba vs Sr. Whole rock geochemical data from Sewell & Campbell, 2001. Circles define composition field of local rock formation (upper circle = volcanic; lower circle = granite). All data reported in ppm.
  • Findings
    • Lung Kwu Tan sherds, which are from a granitic terrain, show limited correlation to the local geology. Only two samples plot within the compositional field defined for the local granite
      • Potstand (LKT-01), Hard Geometric (odd) (LKT-05)
    • Several Sha Ha sherds are compositionally similar to the local volcanics
    • Outliers may mean
      • Influence of tempers (inclusions)
      • Clay matrices
  • Conclusion - Fabrics
    • Geologic methods can be applied to the analysis of local artefacts
    • fabric analysis
      • defining the compositional variability
      • indications of the sources of raw materials
      • typology bears little relationship to composition
  • Conclusion
  • Conclusion - Geochemistry
    • Geochemical analysis lends some support to the fabric analysis
      • Limited at the moment by…
        • Small sample size
        • Bulk analysis
        • comparison is to bedrock
    • All these said,
      • these approaches have significant potential use
      • This project is a developmental research to inform future work.
  • Future Work
    • Samples have been sent to ANU, where they can analyze less than 1 gm of sample using EDAX and Laser Ablation ICP-MS to yield major and trace element data
    • We will pursue electron microprobe analysis of matrix clays and tempers at Auckland University