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Dual Energy Computed Tomography for the Non-destructive Analysis of Ancient Ceramics

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Abstract

Ceramics are usually the most common artefact found on any ancient archaeological site. Compositional analysis of this pottery, and characterization of the clay fabrics from which they are made, has the potential to pinpoint sources of manufacture as well as identify trade routes and consumption patterns in the ancient world. Currently, most analytical techniques require the partial or total destruction of the ceramic sample. This research investigates the use of dual energy computed tomography (DECT) to analyse Black Gloss and Vesuvian Sigillata from Pompeii. The results indicate that DECT may be a viable adjunct or alternative to conventional analytical techniques. Importantly, unlike traditional methods, DECT is totally non-destructive, a highly significant factor when analysing irreplaceable artefacts.

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