A petrographic and material science approach to understanding temper selection in the prehistoric ceramic sequence of the Scioto River Valley, Ross County, Ohio.
Author(s): Michelle Bebber
This research elucidates the complex nature of pottery tempers used in the Scioto River Valley of south central Ohio. The data suggest that during the Late Prehistoric Period indigenous potters began using composite temper types with concretionary hematite as a secondary temper — most often found alongside shell as the primary temper. This project involved two phases 1) petrographic research and 2) mechanical properties testing. The initial research phase involved a detailed analysis of the clay matrix using polarized light microscopy. Precise temper densities were determined using point counting procedures. The second phase involved the production of test samples based on the petrographic data, followed by compressive bend testing of the experimental samples. The test samples were evaluated for mechanical strength, fracture toughness, and rate of thermal expansion. It was shown that hematite tempered samples exhibited significantly higher strength values—however, these samples fractured in a catastrophic manner signaling low post-peak toughness. The shell tempered samples exhibited the weakest strength values—however, they exhibited the most elasticity and most resistance to post-peak fracture. Based on the data, it is suggested that these two distinct temper types were being used in complement.
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A petrographic and material science approach to understanding temper selection in the prehistoric ceramic sequence of the Scioto River Valley, Ross County, Ohio.. Michelle Bebber. Presented at The 81st Annual Meeting of the Society for American Archaeology, Vancouver, British Columbia. 2017 ( tDAR id: 429122)
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min long: -104.634; min lat: 36.739 ; max long: -80.64; max lat: 49.153 ;
Abstract Id(s): 16126