N.C.S.R. "Demokritos"

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Department of Materials Science

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Thermal properties and technological developments of ancient ceramics

In a recent study the production technology of archaeological cooking ware from Akrotiri (Santorini) was investigated. A major part of the study was focussed on the thermal properties, being important parameters for the suitability of the ceramics to be used for cooking. The studied assemblage comprised 200 samples of Neolithic and Bronze Age cooking pots, which were examined petrographically (top) and by scanning electron microscopy (SEM). A change over time was noticed concerning the selection of raw materials and the use of temper. The effect of these parameters on the material properties of the ceramics were investigated using replicates, fabricated to be examined with laboratory measurements. The thermal conductivity was determined with a modified Lees’ disk setup (bottom).
Apart from cooking ware during recent years several studies concerned thermal properties of metallurgical ceramics, such as smelting furnaces and crucibles. The selection of raw materials and the preparation of the clay paste were investigated under the view of refractoriness and heat transfer.

Relevant journal articles

  • Evely, D., Hein, A. and Nodarou, E. (2012) Crucibles from Palaikastro, East Crete: Insights into Metallurgical Technology in the Aegean Late Bronze Age, Journal of Archaeological Science 39, 6, 1821-1836.
  • Hein, A., Müller, N.S., Day, P.M., Kilikoglou, V. (2008) Thermal conductivity of archaeological ceramics: The effect of inclusions, porosity and firing temperature, Thermochimica Acta 480, 35-42.
  • Hein, A., Kilikoglou, V. (2007) Modeling of thermal behavior of ancient metallurgical ceramics, Journal of the American Ceramic Society 90, 878-884.
  • Hein, A., Kilikoglou, V., Kassianidou, V. (2007) Chemical and mineralogical examination of metallurgical ceramics from a Late Bronze Age copper smelting site in Cyprus, Journal of Archaeological Science 34, 141-154.
  • Tite, M.S., Kilikoglou, V., Vekinis, G. (2001) Strength, toughness and thermal shock resistance of ancient ceramics, and their influence on technological choice, Archaeometry 43, 301-324.

  • Relevant publications in proceedings

  • Hein, A. and Kilikoglou, V. (2011) Chapter 18 - Technological aspects of Bronze Age metallurgical ceramics, Metallurgy Understanding How, Learning whY: Studies in Honor of James D. Muhly (ed. P.P. Betancourt, S.C. Ferrence) INSTAP Academic Press, Philadelphia 181-187.
  • Hein, A., Müller, N.S., and Kilikoglou, V. (2009) Great Pots on Fire, Vessels: Inside and outside - Proceedings of the Conference EMAC’07, 9th European Meeting on Ancient Ceramics (ed. K.T. Biro, V. Szilagyi, A. Kreiter) Hungarian National Museum, Budapest 15-20.
  • Tite, M.S. and Kilikoglou, V. (2002) Do we understand cooking pots and is there an ideal cooking pot?, Modern Trends in Scientific Analysis of Ancient Ceramics (ed. Kilikoglou, V., Hein, A. and Y. Maniatis) BAR International Series 1011, Oxford 1-8.
  • Department of Materials Science, N.C.S.R. "Demokritos", 153 10 Aghia Paraskevi, Attiki, phone: +30 210 6503381, fax: +30 210 6519430
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