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Experimental Approaches to the Interpretation of Absorbed Organic Residues in Archaeological Ceramics

Richard P. Evershed
World Archaeology
Vol. 40, No. 1, Experimental Archaeology (Mar., 2008), pp. 26-47
Published by: Taylor & Francis, Ltd.
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/40025312
Page Count: 22
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Experimental Approaches to the Interpretation of Absorbed Organic Residues in Archaeological Ceramics
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Abstract

All scientific investigations require experimentation to test hypotheses and support interpretations. Thus, experimental studies are an indispensable aspect of investigations of organic residues from archaeological ceramics. Experimental methods have been applied to provide insights into factors relating to vessels use and burial. Studies relating to vessel use have used replica vessels, ceramic chips and powder to investigate both physical and chemical phenomena relating to organic residue deposition and transformations. Ethnographic vessels are employed to bridge a practical gap, providing insights into the impacts of long-term vessel use that would be impossible to address in laboratory experiments. By combining such studies we have provided important insights into the chemical compositions observed and prompted searches for novel marker compounds that might otherwise have been overlooked. Potsherds impregnated with organic residues provide substrates for investigating the impacts of burial on chemical and stable isotopic compositions.

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