Thenature of marbled Terra Sigillata slips: a combined mu XRF and mu XRD investigation

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In addition to the red terra sigillata production, the largest Gallic workshop (La Graufesenque) made a special type of terra sigillata, called 'marbled' by the archaeologists. Produced exclusively on this site, this pottery is characterized by a surface finish made of a mixture of yellow and red slips. Because the two slips are intimately mixed, it is difficult to obtain the precise composition of one of the two constituents without contamination by the other. In order to obtain very precise correlation at the appropriate scale between the color aspect and the element and mineralogical phase distributions in the slip, combined ... continued below

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Leon, Yoanna; Sciau, Philippe; Goudeau, Philippe; Tamura, Nobumichi; Webb, Sam & Mehta, Apurva January 31, 2009.

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In addition to the red terra sigillata production, the largest Gallic workshop (La Graufesenque) made a special type of terra sigillata, called 'marbled' by the archaeologists. Produced exclusively on this site, this pottery is characterized by a surface finish made of a mixture of yellow and red slips. Because the two slips are intimately mixed, it is difficult to obtain the precise composition of one of the two constituents without contamination by the other. In order to obtain very precise correlation at the appropriate scale between the color aspect and the element and mineralogical phase distributions in the slip, combined electron microprobe, x-ray micro spectroscopies and micro diffraction on cross sectional samples were performed. The aim is to discover how potters were able to produce this unique type of terra sigillata and especially this slip showing an intense yellow color. Results show that the yellow component of marbled sigillata was made from a titanium-rich clay preparation. The color is related to the formation of a pseudobrookite (TiFe2O5) phase in the yellow part of the slip, the main characteristics of that structure being considered nowadays as essential for the fabrication of stable yellow ceramic pigments. Its physical properties such as high refractive indices and a melting point higher than that of most silicates widely used as ceramic colorants are indeed determinant for this kind of applications. Finally, the red parts have a similar composition (elementary and mineralogical) to the one of standard red slip.

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  • Journal Name: Applied Physics A

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  • Report No.: LBNL-1789E
  • Grant Number: DE-AC02-05CH11231
  • Office of Scientific & Technical Information Report Number: 952857
  • Archival Resource Key: ark:/67531/metadc930138

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  • January 31, 2009

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  • Nov. 13, 2016, 7:26 p.m.

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  • Jan. 4, 2017, 3:55 p.m.

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Leon, Yoanna; Sciau, Philippe; Goudeau, Philippe; Tamura, Nobumichi; Webb, Sam & Mehta, Apurva. Thenature of marbled Terra Sigillata slips: a combined mu XRF and mu XRD investigation, article, January 31, 2009; Berkeley, California. (digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc930138/: accessed October 16, 2018), University of North Texas Libraries, Digital Library, digital.library.unt.edu; crediting UNT Libraries Government Documents Department.