Textural feature quantification by image analysis on SEM-BSE and chemical maps.Changes in the production recipes over time.Relationship between decorative motives and production recipes.Progressive standardization in the pottery production from Mesolithic to Neolithic.
Pottery from Al Khiday (Khartoum, Sudan), where a number of sites with well-preserved stratified archaeological sequences have been excavated and radiometrically dated to the Mesolithic and Neolithic periods (70004000calibratedBC), was archaeometrically analysed with the main aim of quantifying the textural parameters of the inclusions in the ceramic pastes. A set of 360 samples was studied, and quantitative and qualitative information was obtained regarding paste production recipes and the raw materials used over time.
Three main petrographic groups were identified, according to contents in alkali-feldspar and quartz, and the grain-size of quartz inclusions. Further sub-groups were defined and described in terms of grain-size distribution and abundance of the various types of inclusions. Digital image analysis on both scanning electron back-scattered images and elemental maps enabled validation of petrographic groups by quantitative description of the type, abundance and shape of inclusions, and the inclusion-to-matrix ratio. Correlations among the paste production recipes and decorative motifs revealed changes in production technology over time.