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A technological study of ancient faience from Egypt

Tite, M. S., Manti, Panagiota and Shortland, A. J. 2007. A technological study of ancient faience from Egypt. Journal of Archaeological Science 34 (10) , pp. 1568-1583. 10.1016/j.jas.2006.11.010

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The chemical compositions and microstructures of some 35 faience objects from Egypt spanning the period from the Middle Kingdom through to the 22nd dynasty are determined using analytical scanning electron microscopy. Replicate faience beads glazed in the laboratory using the efflorescence and cementation methods are similarly investigated. In efflorescence glazing, there appears to be preferential efflorescence of soda over potash, and in cementation glazing, preferential take up of potash over soda into the glaze. These data are then used to try to infer the raw materials and methods of glazing employed in the production of the ancient faience. The glaze/glass phases present in the faience differ significantly in composition from that of New Kingdom glass. This could be due either to the use of different plant ashes or to changes in the composition of the plant ashes during the production of faience and/or glass. Although it is only rarely possible to determine with certainty whether ancient faience was glazed by efflorescence, cementation or application, the observed microstructures provide an indication of the approach adopted to achieve desired performance characteristics such as strength.

Item Type: Article
Date Type: Publication
Status: Published
Schools: History, Archaeology and Religion
Subjects: C Auxiliary Sciences of History > CC Archaeology
Q Science > QD Chemistry
Uncontrolled Keywords: Faience; Plant ash; Cobalt; Copper; Colorant; Glazing method; Scanning electron microscopy; Wavelength-dispersive spectrometry; Replication; Egypt; Middle Kingdom; New Kingdom
Publisher: Elsevier
ISSN: 0305-4403
Last Modified: 05 Nov 2019 03:48

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