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Science & Technology in Archaeology


Petrographic analysis involves the microscopic examination of thin-sections of pottery sherds (fragments) for the purpose of identifying their mineral composition. This type of analysis provides clues to where pottery was made and/or where the raw materials used in manufacture came from.

This magnified thin-section, as observed through the lens of an optical microscope, shows the constitutent mineral components of an ancient pottery sherd (thin-section photo courtesy Kari Schleher).

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Read about a petrographic analysis of Pueblo pottery in the Rio Grande valley of New Mexico (book excerpt available through Academia.edu).