The presence of calcite in archeological ceramics

B. Fabbri, S. Gualtieri, S. Shoval

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review


The present work describes the methods for detecting and classifying calcite in archeological ceramics, the forms of calcite and their interpretation in archeometric terms. Calcite appears in form of coarse granules and fine particles, and its origin can be primary or secondary. Coarse granules can be polycrystalline or mono-crystals of calcite. Fragments of shells, fossils or microfossils are also found. Primary calcite is the initial calcite preserved in low-fired pottery. Secondary calcite, formed after the ceramic firing, may be reformed (re-carbonated) calcite, precipitated calcite or calcite from alteration. The firing can cause the formation of a 'reaction rim' around coarse granules of calcite, while strong decomposition of coarse calcite causes the formation of 'calcite ghosts'. The identification of the forms of calcite gives information on raw materials, the firing temperature and the manufacturing technology of the pottery.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1899-1911
Number of pages13
JournalJournal of the European Ceramic Society
Issue number7
StatePublished - Jul 2014

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
This research was supported by the Institute of Science and Technology for Ceramics, Faenza, Italy , and by The Open University of Israel's Research Fund (grant no. 31016 ). This support is gratefully acknowledged. S. Shoval expresses his appreciation to Prof. Oded Navon for the hospitality during sabbatical year stay at the Institute of Earth Sciences, The Hebrew University of Jerusalem.


  • Archeological ceramics
  • Laboratory analyses
  • Primary calcite
  • Secondary calcite


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