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Scottish Scientists Develop Technique To Date Archaeological Ceramics

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Bianca
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« on: May 26, 2009, 09:37:21 am »










                            Scottish scientists develop technique to date archaeological ceramics


                              Scientists have discovered a way to date archaeological ceramics

 
                                     by defining how they react with moisture from the air.






.25 May 2009
ArchaeologyNews.com
 
Scientists have discovered a way to date archaeological ceramics by defining how they react with moisture
from the air.

The new technique is to be as important for dating ceramics as carbon dating is for organic materials such
bone and wood.

The method was discovered by a team from Edinburgh and Manchester Universities and can be used on fired
clay ceramics such as bricks, tiles and pottery.

Working with the Museum of London, the scientists have dated brick samples from Roman, medieval and modern periods with remarkable accuracy.

Objects up to 2,000 years old have been aged using the technique and the team is confident that it will date ceramics 10,000 years old and more.

Researchers are to see if the method can be applied to earthenware, china and porcelain.

The basis behind the technique is the fact that fired clay ceramic material begins to react with atmospheric moisture as soon as it is removed from the kiln after firing.

This continues over its lifetime, causing the object to increase in weight. The scientists discovered a law that defines how this gain in weight changes over time.

To age a ceramic object, a sample is weighed and then heated to around 500 Celsius to remove the water from the sample. The sample is weighed again and then left exposed to moist air and the rate of mass gain measured over a few days.

Using the law, it is possible from the weight gain to calculate the time needed for the object to regain the original weight - revealing its age.

Professor Chris Hall, Edinburgh University school of Engineering and Electronics, said in a statement: "This technique will allow us to discover a great deal about ancient artefacts by pinpointing their age.

"Our work is also scientifically important in showing that these everyday ceramic materials undergo long-term alteration over thousands of years, which can be described by a precise mathematical law."



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24 May 2009, 11:46
« Last Edit: May 26, 2009, 09:41:37 am by Bianca » Report Spam   Logged

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