Kligmann, D. M. y M. Calderari. 2012. Diatoms and ceramic provenance: A cautionary tale. Archaeometry 54(1): 129-143.


In order to answer the age-old question of whether a given pot was manufactured locally or elsewhere, some archaeologists have turned to geoarchaeological or bioarchaeological methods such as diatom analysis to establish potential clay sources. In this paper, we highlight the complexity of diatom analysis and illustrate how diatoms potentially coming from several sources may be introduced at different stages during the ceramic manufacturing process. Finally, we proceed to evaluate the reliability of diatom analysis as an archaeometric measurement for ceramic provenance, concluding that it may have a more limited usefulness within archaeology than its current frequency of use would indicate.

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