Under normal circumstances, archaeologists tend to report on ancient ceramics, discussing the age, condition, colour/lustre, whether it is glazed or unglazed, sometimes focusing on the petrology of the fabric. To understand the petrology element, Quinn’s book is an essential reference tool.
The book is organised into nine chapters, each centred on key methods that include thin section petrography, geochemistry, scanning electron microscopy, and X-ray diffraction. These hard-science processes assist in determining the materials, their origins, and the techniques used in the production of ancient pottery and ceramic building materials. Quinn discusses a diverse range of artefacts from numerous archaeological periods and cultures worldwide. The case studies use tried-and-tested techniques that are standard in material science, with a focus on ceramic petrography and geochemistry. It should be noted that the methods employed can also be applied to other materials, such as prehistoric pigments.
Quinn must be congratulated for providing the reader with a detailed account of how to take ancient and modern ceramic studies to a new and exciting level of research.
Thin Section Petrography, Geochemistry and Scanning Electron Microscopy of Archaeological Ceramics
Patrick Sean Quinn