Mineralogical and geochemical characterization of the concotto artefacts from firing places of Longola protohistoric settlement (Naples)

Giovanni Di Maio, Giuseppina Balassone, Embaie Ferrow, Donatella Barca, Angela Mormone, Carmela Petti, Nicola Mondillo


 A set of concotto samples, a type of fired mixture of various raw materials, coming from firing place of the perifluvial protohistoric site of Longola (Campania region, southern Italy) was characterized by means of a multi-analytical approach, i.e. polarized light optical microscopy (OM), X-ray powder diffraction (XRD), scanning electron microscopy and energy dispersive spectrometry (SEM-EDS), X-ray fluorescence (XRF), inductively-coupled plasmamass spectrometry (ICP-MS) and Mössbauer spectroscopy. The specimens generally show a heterogeneous texture, a red-coloured groundmass composed of a mixture of tiny quartz, feldspar, poorly-crystallized goethite, hematite and clay minerals. The crystal fractions show significant amounts of quartz and alkali feldspar and variable percentages of clinopyroxene, leucite, biotite, hematite, magnetite and traces of muscovite. Random secondary phases of calcite, vivianite and gypsum have been identified. The coarser fraction is formed by several types of inclusions, i.e. tephra fragments (pumices, scoriae), volcanic and sedimentary rocks. Illite and very subordinate smectite (montmorillonite) were detected by X-ray diffraction. Trace elements also show a contribution of volcanic raw materials. The Mössbauer analyses at 296 K show the occurrence of paramagnetic Fe3+  iron (clay minerals) and magnetic Fe3+  iron (hematite). For the 80 K spectrum, however, two doublets (ferrous and ferric iron in clay minerals) and one sextet (hematite). The concotto samples do not suffer high temperatures, perhaps much lower than 500-600 °C in a mainly oxidizing atmosphere. Only sporadically, if any, higher temperatures (> 800 °C) might have been reached.


concotto; archaeometry; Longola; southern Italy; protohistoric site; multi-technique investigations

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DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.2451/2011PM0025

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