Wednesday, June 3, 2009

Water Weight Gain - An Application to Dating Ancient Pottery

Andaste (Susquehannock) pot found in Athens, PA

Recently the University of Manchester reported yet another new dating method for ancient pottery. This announcement comes just after the recent starch residue dating method was reported in Mexico by Anthony Ranere & Dolores Piperno.

The latest dating method using fire and water is currently capable of dating up to 2,000 years, but the researchers are confident that in time they will be able to date at least as far back as 10,000 years.

"In 2003 the Manchester and Edinburgh team discovered a new law that precisely defines how the rate of reaction between ceramic and water varies over time.

The application of this law underpins the new dating method because the amount of water that is chemically combined with a ceramic provides an 'internal clock' that can be accessed to determine its age.

The technique involves measuring the mass of a sample of ceramic and then heating it to around 500 degrees Celsius in a furnace, which removes the water.

The sample is then monitored in a super-accurate measuring device known as a microbalance, to determine the precise rate at which the ceramic will combine with water over time.

Using the time law, it is possible to extrapolate the information collected to calculate the time it will take to regain the mass lost on heating – revealing the sample's age..."

Reference: University of Manchester (2009, May 25). Fire And Water Reveal New Archaeological Dating Method. ScienceDaily. Retrieved June 3, 2009, from­ /releases/2009/05/090519214945.htm

This is such a timely topic for us at SRAC as we are hosting :

SRAC Pottery Symposium and Roundup (click for more info)

Saturday, August 15, 2009 from 1pm – 4pm

At SRAC, 345 Broad Street, Waverly, NY

This event will combine incredible private collections of pottery brought together for one day at SRAC to create the LARGEST pottery exhibit in the region for a day. Meanwhile we have professional speakers, Dr. Bill Engelbrecht, (president, NYS Archaeology) and Dr. Jon Hart, Director of Research and Collections at the NYS Museum who will talk to us about the newest research and the pottery found in our region. You can download a flier here.

I hope that you consider attending this important event as we continue to learn more and more about the incredible pottery found right here in our region. If you are a collector and want to securely display your pottery please contact Ted Keir at 570-888-2718 to learn more.

And on that note, Ted Keir will be presenting "Pottery Types Found In Our Region" on Monday June 15th, from 6:30 - 7:30 pm at SRAC at our free night/SRAC & Andaste Chapter of Pennsylvania Archaeology joint meeting. Ted will be showing many slides of locally found pottery as he teaches us about what has been found in our region over the years. Admission to the exhibit hall is also free on our joint meeting night as well, so please plan to come early to enjoy the artifacts as well.

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