Reverse Engineering of Corinthian Pigment Processing and Firing Technologies on Archaic Polychrome Ceramics
AuthorKlesner, Catherine Elizabeth
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PublisherThe University of Arizona.
RightsCopyright © is held by the author. Digital access to this material is made possible by the University Libraries, University of Arizona. Further transmission, reproduction or presentation (such as public display or performance) of protected items is prohibited except with permission of the author.
AbstractDecorative, polychrome ceramics from Corinth, Greece, produced during the 8th-6th centuries B.C.E. are luxury goods that were widely traded throughout Greece and the Mediterranean. The decorated ceramics were produced in a variety of shapes, including aryballos, alabastron, and olpe. They were decorated with slip-glazes in distinctive white, black, red, yellow, and purple colors, and in a variety of surface finishes, matte, semi-matte and glossy. Artisans in Corinthian workshops experimented to change the colors of the slips by varying the type and amount of iron-rich raw materials. They also varied the composition of the clay used as a binder and the amount of flux used as a sintering aid to promote glass formation. This research reconstructs the technology used by the Corinthian craftsmen to produce the Archaic polychrome ceramics, and shows how these technologies differed from the production of better known, more prestigious Athenian black-figure and red-figure ceramics. Through microstructural examination of archaeological samples and replication experiments, this thesis proposes that the purple iron oxide pigment is the result of acid treatment and oxidation of iron metal. The firing temperature range of the Corinthian polychrome ceramics was determined experimentally to be 925-1025° C, which is higher than previously reported and similar to that reported for Corinthian transport amphoras. The firing range is higher by 50-150° C than the Athenian black-figure and red-figure ceramics. Samples of Corinthian polychrome and Athenian black-figure ceramics from the Marie Farnsworth collection at the University of Arizona were tested and compared to Corinthian clay collections. Analytical techniques included Fourier-transform infrared spectroscopy (FTIR), scanning-electron microscopy with energy-dispersive spectroscopy (SEM-EDS), micro-Raman spectroscopy, and wavelength-dispersive electron microprobe (EPMA with BSE-SEM).
Degree ProgramGraduate College
Materials Science & Engineering