NMC469Y1 Chapter Notes -Silt

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Published on 10 Oct 2011
Near & Middle Eastern Civilizations
Wednesday, September 28/11
Mediaeval Middle Eastern Ceramics
R. Mason
Mason’s Handbook: Part Two
Pottery Descriptions
Body: typically select from Earthenware, Stoneware, Porcelain, Stonepaste,
Faience, etc
Munsell Colour: always make note of the conditions under which the munsell color reading
was taken (i.e., lighting) and the nature of the selection (freshly broken, cut, etc). Record the core
and the margins if different from the surface
General Fabric Descriptions
Fracture: refers only to the core matrix and not inclusions. Use would fracture instead of
texture. Typical fractures:
Conchoidal: will have vitreous body, like porcelain
Even: ‘fine’ featureless surface
Irregular: appears coarser, unevenness usually less than 1mm on a 10cm thickness section
Hackle: appears very coarse, unevenness greater than 1mm on a 10cm thickness section
Hardness: given that pottery is a heterogenous material the issue of fabric’s hardness is
problematic. Sufficient to use general classifications:
Very soft, being easily gouged by a bald (i.e. Moh’s 3 or lower
Soft, being scratched by a blade (i.e. Moh’s 4-5)
Hard, being barely scratched by a blade (i.e. Moh’s 6)
Very hard, being harder than the blade (i.e. Moh’s 7 or higher)
Abundance: preferably some numerical value for abundance should be used, especially for
petrographic characterization. A rapid and sufficiently accurate and precise technique is to
compare the abundance of inclusions with charts of known abundance.
Grain Size: sedimentologists have defined parameters for sizes of inclusions.
It should be noted that the predominant grain-size population may actually be finer than is
visible without magnification
After Folk 1980
>2 = grit
1-2 = very coarse sand
.5-1 = coarse sand
.25-.5 = medium sand Barely discernible without microscope
.125-.25 = fine sand Too fine to see without microscope
.0625-.125 = very fine sand Barely visible with microscrope
<.0625 = silt Visible only in thin-section
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