Technical Analysis and Replication of Corinthian Polychrome Slips, 8th - 6th Centuries BCE

Author(s): Jay Stephens; Pam Vandiver

Year: 2015


Polychrome slipped and decorated pottery from Corinth, Greece, developed over two centuries from monochrome, dark brown slips and washes on a calcareous yellow clay body to a wide range of decorative techniques. Once significant experimentation with color variability began, five colors were produced. Some slip colors involve multiple-step processing to control glass content and degree of sintering; the control of particle size to produce variable roughness and a matte or semi-matt or glossy appearance. Others involve reprocessing of materials from another craft specialty. Considerable evidence supports nearly continuous development and engineering of the ceramic slips, although no data support the improvement in composition or processing of the ceramic bodies. We present the results of study of 29 sherds with 57 examples of Corinthian polychrome slips, measuring 10 to 35 microns in thickness, that were collected by Marie Farnsworth in the late 1950s and 1960s from Greek archaeological sites. Black, red, white, wine red (or purple) and overlying, matte banded slips were studied by optical microscopy, petrographic and scanning-electron microscopy with semi-quantative energy dispersive x-ray analysis, as well as wavelength-dispersive electron microprobe (EPMA) elemental mapping and analysis. Results from compositional analysis were then used to replicate the five slip colors.

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Technical Analysis and Replication of Corinthian Polychrome Slips, 8th - 6th Centuries BCE. Jay Stephens, Pam Vandiver. Presented at The 80th Annual Meeting of the Society for American Archaeology, San Francisco, California. 2015 ( tDAR id: 397422)

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min long: -11.074; min lat: 37.44 ; max long: 50.098; max lat: 70.845 ;