Item Details

Forensic Exploration of the Mechanical Properties of Basalt Grains in Earthenware

Issue: Vol 1 No. 2 (2017)

Journal: Archaeological and Environmental Forensic Science

Subject Areas:

DOI: 10.1558/aefs.37082


The overall goal of this project is to contribute to reconstruct the innovation mechanisms and development of ceramic production using forensic engineering techniques. Instead of optimizing materials as a driver in modern engineering, here we wish to use these methodologies, but aim to solve questions on advancement in the past fabrication process-and thus ultimately understand the key issues of a less or (un)successful design and subsequent improvement. This article wishes to address the advantages and constraints regarding to use of basalt in ceramic matrices. By utilizing a standardised set of different test bars comprising different amounts of basalt fired at both 800°C and 1000°C, it can be concluded basalt tempered ceramics have a higher fracture toughness when compared to quartz enriched materials. It is therefore plausible to identify basalt as a good temper material for (ancient) earthenwares in terms of thermal (shock) activities.

Author: Dennis Braekmans, Max J.G.M. Broekman, Bernd G. Grashof, Max P.J. Oudshoorn, Lennard H. Uittenbroek, Loe F.H.C. Jacobs

View Full Text

References :

Allegretta, Ignazio, Giacomo Eramo, Daniela Pinto and Anno Hein. 2014. “The effect of temper on the thermal conductivity of traditional ceramics: Nature, percentage and granulometry.” Thermochimica Acta 581: 100–109.

Allegretta, Ignazio, Giacomo Eramo, Daniela Pinto and Vassilis Kilikoglou. 2015. “Strength of kaolinite-based ceramics: Comparison between limestone- and quartz-tempered bodies.” Applied Clay Science 116–117: 220–230.

Ashby, Michael F. 2010. Materials Selection in Mechanical Design. Oxford: Butterworth-Heinemann.

ASTM. 2009. Standard Test Method for Measurement of Fracture Toughness (E1820-09). West Conshohocken: ASTM International.

Biton, Rebecca, Yuval Goren, and A. Nigel Goring-Morris. 2014. “Ceramics in the Levantine Pre-Pottery Neolithic B: Evidence from Kfar HaHoresh, Israel.” Journal of Archaeological Science 41: 740–748.

Bower, Allan F. 2009. Applied Mechanics of Solids. Boca Raton, FL: CRC Press.

Braekmans, Dennis and Patrick Degryse. 2016. “Optical Microscopy.” The Oxford Handbook of Archaeological Ceramic Analysis, 233. Oxford: Oxford University Press.

Braekmans, D., P. Degryse, B. Neyt, M. Waelkens, and J. Poblome. 2017. “Reconstructing regional trajectories: The provenance and distribution of Archaic to Hellenistic ceramics in Central Pisidia (South-West Turkey).” Archaeometry 59(3): 472–492.

Bronitsky, Gordon, and Robert Hamer. 1986. “Experiments in ceramic technology: The effects of various tempering materials on impact and thermal-shock resistance.” American Antiquity 51(1): 89–101.

Carper, Kenneth L. 2000. Forensic Engineering. Second Edition. Boca Raton, FL: CRC Press.

CES EduPack, 2016. Computer software, Cambridge, UK, Granta Design. Retrieved 14 August, 2018, from

Dane, E. B., Jr. 1942. “Density at high temperature; thermal expansion.” In Handbook of Physical Constants, edited by F. Birch, J. F. Schairer, H. C. Spicer, 28–37. Geological Society of America Special Paper 36. New York: National Research Council.

Dlouhý, I., Z. Chlup and A. R. Boccaccini. 2013. Applicability of the Chevron-Notch Technique for Fracture Toughness Determination in Glass. Cracow: ESIS

Dornemann, R. H., 1983. The Archaeology of the Transjordan in the Bronze and Iron Ages. Milwaukee, WI: Milwaukee Public Museum.

Faber, K. T., M. D. Huang and A. G. Evans. 1981. “Quantitative studies of thermal shock in ceramics based on a novel test technique.” Journal of the American Ceramic Society 64(5): 296–301.

Hein, Anno, Noémi S. Müller, Peter M. Day and Vassilis Kilikoglou. 2008. “Thermal conductivity of archaeological ceramics: The effect of inclusions, porosity and firing temperature.” Thermochimica Acta 480(1): 35–42.

Huotari, Taija and I. Kukkonen. 2004. “Thermal expansion properties of rocks: Literature survey and estimation of thermal expansion coefficient for Olkiluoto Mica Gneiss.” Posiva Oy, Olkiluoto, Working Report 4: 62.

Kilikoglou, V., G. Vekinis and Y. Maniatis. 1995. “Toughening of ceramic earthenwares by quartz inclusions: An ancient art revisited.” Acta Metallurgica et Materialia 43(8): 2959–2965.

———. 1998. “Mechanical performance of quartz-tempered ceramics: Part I, strength and toughness.” Archaeometry 40(2): 261–279.

Müller, Noémi S., Vassilis Kilikoglou, Peter M. Day and George Vekinis. 2010. “The Influence of Temper Shape on the Mechanical Properties of Archaeological Ceramics.” Journal of the European Ceramic Society 30(12): 2457–2465.

Müller, Noémi S., George Vekinis, Peter M. Day and Vassilis Kilikoglou. 2015. “The influence of microstructure and texture on the mechanical properties of rock tempered archaeological ceramics.” Journal of the European Ceramic Society 35(2): 831–843.

Neale, Brian S. 2009. Forensic Engineering: From Failure to Understanding. Thomas Telford.

NEN, (2007). Advanced technical ceramics—Mechanical properties of monolithic ceramics at room temperature Part 2: Determination of Young’s modulus, shear modulus and Poisson’s ratio (EN 843-2). Delft: Nederlandse Norm.

Nieuwenhuyse, Olivier P., Malgorzata Daskiewicz and Gerwulf Schneider. 2018. “Investigating Late Neolithic Ceramics in the Northern Levant: The View from Shir.” Levant, 19pp. Published online.

Philip, G. and D. Baird. 2000. Ceramic and Change in the Early Bronze Age of the Southern Levant. Levantine Archaeology 2. Sheffield: Sheffield Academic Press.

Ribeiro, M. J., J. A. Labrincha and J.M. Ferreira. 2002. “Valorizacio´n de residuos industriales en la industria cera´mica.” Residuos 12(64) 90–98.

Salem, Jonathan, George Quinn and Michael Jenkins. 2005. “Measuring the real fracture toughness of ceramics: ASTM C 1421.” In Fracture Mechanics of Ceramics, 531–553. New York: Springer US.

Skinner, B. J. 1966. “Thermal expansion.” In Handbook of Physical Constants. Revised Edition, edited by J. R. Clark, 75–96. New York: The Geological Society of America.

Sibelco 2015. “Technical Datasheet K143 clay.”Retrieved 23 August, 2018, from

Stefanov, S. 1991. “Use of industrial wastes in brick manufacture.” Industrial Ceramics 11(1): 12–15.

Ting, Carmen, Jorge Ulloa Hung, Corinne L. Hofman and Patrick Degryse. 2018. “Indigenous technologies and the production of early colonial ceramics in Dominican Republic.” Journal of Archaeological Science: Reports 1: 47–57.

Zouaoui, Hiba and Jamel Bouaziz. 2017. “Performance enhancement of the ceramic products by adding the sand, chamotte and waste brick to a porous clay from Bir Mcherga (Tunisia).” Applied Clay Science 143: 430–436.