Pre-Islamic ceramics of Iran (2014-2017)

Archaemetrical analyses on pre-Islamic ceramics of Iran, PhD research Possum Pincé

Archaemetrical techniques used in the PhD project
Archaemetrical techniques used in the PhD project
The PhD research consists of an archaeometrical study of the pre-Islamic Iranian ceramics from the Vanden Berghe collection, present at the Royal Museums of Art and History (RMAH) in Belgium (Brussels). The objectives are gaining an insight in the elementary composition of the ceramics, the manufacturing techniques and the provenance of the primary materials. Based on this, the social and economic identity of the studied ceramics can be identified, which elucidates habitation and migration patterns. In addition, the archaeometrical results allow a renewed classification of the studied material and provide a reference framework for the identification of other pre-Islamic ceramics.

The first applied analytical technique is the handheld X-ray Fluorescence (hXRF) spectroscopy, which is a non-destructive method to study the elemental composition of the ceramics and the pigments used for decoration. In addition, Micro X-ray Fluorescence (µXRF) spectroscopy is performed. This technique also detects the elemental fingerprint of the ceramics and has imaging capacities to elucidate differences in the composition of the clay fabric and the inclusions. For identification of the pigments used for decoration and the firing temperature, Raman Spectroscopy is used. These analytical methods are combined with thin section petrography. This destructive technique enables the determination of manufacturing processes and the primary materials by identifying the rocks and minerals present in the thin sections.

The research “Archaemetrical analyses on pre-Islamic ceramics of Iran” is carried out under the supervision of Prof. Dr. E. Haerinck and Prof. Dr. Vandenabeele. It is part of the BArEO project, funded by the BRAIN-program of the Belgian Federal Science Policy Office (BELSPO).


drs. Possum Pincé

Prof. dr. Peter Vandenabeele

Prof. dr. em. Ernie Haerinck