Suitable raw material is the basis for every ceramic object. In order to study the artisanal choices and factors associated with the selection of clays for Bronze Age ceramic production a raw-material survey has been carried out near the excavation site of Grutt’i Acqua on the peninsula of Sant'Antioco (Sardinia). This project is characterized by a transdisciplinary combination of experimental archaeology and mineralogical material science analysis - carried out in a cooperation between ArchaeoLytics and the Institute for Archaeological Studies of the Ruhr-University Bochum.
Nineteen clay-rich sediments have been collected and processed to examine their suitability to produce pottery according to local Bronze Age techniques and diagnostic vessel shapes. Based on standardized test-tiles the dry- and fire-shrinkage as well as the color-variations have been recorded for firing-experiments at 600 and 900°C. Ten samples out of this series have been selected for further investigations including polarizing microscopy, XRD and XRF. Preliminary comparisons with local Bronze Age shards show clear distinguishing features, allowing a solid provenance study. In addition, our field experiences, the in-situ processing of raw materials and the X-Ray data provide us with a more profound and broader understanding of the local Bronze Age pottery in the area of Grutt’i Acqua.