2005 STUDENT RESEARCH PROJECT:
GEOCHEMICAL STUDIES OF PODERE FUNGHI POTTERY
Isaac Weaver
, Franklin and Marshall alumnus

 


Issac Weaver, at right, studying Podere Funghi pottery.

Isaac Weaver a 2005 summa cum laude graduate of Franklin & Marshall began a second geoscience project at Poggio Colla this summer. Isaac, as part of his geoscience major at Franklin & Marshall learned to carry out several techniques that can be used to identify the components of pottery, both the clay itself and the temper potters incorporate into it. In 1998 and 1999, the Podere Funghi produced an extensive midden where misfired pottery from the nearby kilns was discarded. The pottery from the midden is unpainted "fine ware," carefully made on a potter's wheel into balanced and symmetrical shapes such as bowls and plates used for eating and drinking. Isaac spent two weeks at the site, from June 24- July 7, collecting samples from the midden context pottery for x-ray florescence, thin-section petrology, and ICP mass spectrometry. In addition to the midden discards, roof tile, storage pithoi, and mud brick, all assumed to be made locally, will be analyzed. Through these procedures, Isaac will be able to see if we can establish a consistent chemical fingerprint of the ceramic products of the Podere Funghi. Such information would place Poggio Colla in a tiny minority of sites, where scientists and archaeologists can characterize with certainty the geochemical fingerprint of their own local fine ware pottery. If Isaac's results warrant wider dissemination, he will present them in a paper or poster at an appropriate professional conference.