Nondestructive compositional analysis of ceramics

Jaye McKenzie-Clark, John Magnussen

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingEntry for encyclopedia/dictionary/reference bookpeer-review


Ancient pottery plays an important role in the investigation of past civilizations; it provides archaeologists with specific details of life in ancient times. Compositional analysis of the ceramic material can identify the manufacturing techniques employed by ancient potters, and pinpoint distribution patterns of ceramic goods throughout the ancient world. Nevertheless, this vital information usually comes at a considerable cost because most compositional analyses require the partial or total destruction of the ancient artifact, resulting in the loss of irreplaceable cultural heritage. A new technique employing dual energy computed tomography (DECT), developed at Macquarie University, Australia, provides comparable results to conventional analyses, but in stark contrast the DECT technique is totally nondestructive, thereby preserving cultural heritage for future generations.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationThe encyclopedia of archaeological sciences
EditorsSandra L. López Varela
Place of PublicationMalden, MA
PublisherWiley-Blackwell, Wiley
Number of pages7
ISBN (Electronic)9781119188230
ISBN (Print)9780470674611
Publication statusPublished - 26 Nov 2018


  • dual energy computed tomography
  • ancient pottery
  • compositional techniques
  • nondestructive


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