Pottery making in Early Neolithic communities of Southern Italy: toward an interaction model In the present work the main pottery making differences on the Tavoliere plain (Southern Italy) during Early Neolithic were analysed. Do technical devices (raw material supply, grain size variability, firing techniques, ...) corresponded to different styles as they are evidenced by finishing treatments and surface decorations? Through comparative analyses of a large number of pottery samples from several Neolithic villages, the study aims to distinguish between spatial and temporal differences in a long-period pottery tradition. And then is it possible to reconstruct social boundaries through pottery production variability in a large culturally homogeneous region? Archaeometric data of 54 pottery samples from eight neighbouring villages located in a micro-area of the Tavoliere plain are presented. PXRD analyses show the presence of predominant quartz and calcite, accompanied by smaller quantities of feldspars. Among clay minerals, smectite is less abundant than illite and muscovite. In refired samples at 1,000°C the presence of a high quantity of pyroxenes and gehlenite neoformations was observed. XRF analyses of major and trace elements have shown SiO2, Al2O3, CaO, Fe2O3, as the main oxides, with some variations as regards CaO percentage. As far as the ecological and technological aspects are concerned, ceramic production seems quite homogeneous in these villages, though some degree of variation in grain size composition is also present. Firing technology, detected by mineralogical and chemical data, shows that all samples were fired at temperatures that could have reached 700-800°C. Such preliminary results confirm behavioural and technical similarities in Early Neolithic pottery technology, even if some finer differences in pottery making between sites and/or archaeological classes were evidenced related to local pottery traditions.
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