Articles | Volume 26, issue 2
01 Oct 2007
 | 01 Oct 2007

Ceramic micropalaeontology: the analysis of microfossils in ancient ceramics

Patrick S. Quinn and Peter M. Day

Keywords: archaeology, ancient ceramics, provenance, technology, applied micropalaeontology

Abstract. Microfossils can be a common component of ancient ceramic artefacts. Their analysis in this unusual context is a little-known, yet promising, cross-disciplinary application of micropalaeontology. This article presents the first detailed assessment of the phenomenon of microfossils in ancient ceramics and demonstrates how micropalaeontology can contribute to a range of issues in archaeological ceramic analysis and the reconstruction of the human past. In describing a methodology by which micropalaeontologists and archaeologists can analyse microfossiliferous ceramics, this paper presents the foundations of an approach, which is here referred to as ‘ceramic micropalaeontology’.