South African shards

Raman analysis of South African pottery (shards) dating from the 13th and 14th centuries reveals that the potters used a variety of clays and fired their wares at less than 800 Celsius using open fires rather than kilns. Such details could only be unearthed without damaging the artefacts using this powerful spectroscopic technique.

Chemists Malebogo Legodi and Danita de Waal of the University of Pretoria in South Africa examined samples from four archaeological sites – Rooiwal, Lydenburg, Makahane, and Graskop using normal dispersive Raman spectroscopy. They complemented this technique with X-ray fluorescence, X-ray diffraction and Fourier transform infrared spectroscopy.

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