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Classification of glazed potteries from Christian and Muslim territories (Late Medieval Ages, IX–XIII centuries) by micro-Raman spectroscopy


  • This article is part of the Journal of Raman Spectroscopy special issue entitled “Raman spectroscopy in art and archaeology” edited by Juan Manuel Madariaga and Danilo Bersani.

Maria Cruz Zuluaga, Department of Mineralogy and Petrology, University of the Basque Country (UPV/EHU), P.O. Box 644, E-48080 Bilbao, Spain.



Technological evolution in pottery making is one of the knowledge transference evidence of Islamic culture in the Iberian Peninsula. In this work, two sets of pottery samples from pre-Islamic, Muslim and post-Islamic (Mudejar) stages have been analysed in order to study the evolution of pottery-making techniques. Micro-Raman spectroscopy has been used for the thorough characterisation and classification of the potsherds. In order to support Raman-provided information scanning electron microscope coupled with energy-dispersive X-ray microanalysis (SEM-EDX) and X-ray diffraction (XRD) were also performed. On one hand, the mineralogical assemblage determined through Raman spectroscopy and SEM-EDX indicates similar pottery-making procedures in Muslim and Mudejar potsherds, whereas local manufacturing style is detected in Christian ones. On the other hand, the composition and the processing temperature of the glaze, by Raman spectroscopy, have provided clues to differentiate not only between Muslim and Mudejar potsherds as well as to detect Mudejar-style samples in the Christian territory. This last one opens an interesting discussion about the commercial trade between the ceramic manufacturing territories. Copyright © 2012 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.