Determination of trace elements in archaeological ceramics and application of Kernel Density Estimates: Implications for the definition of production locations

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Abstract

Chemistry fingerprint of materials helps determine provenance and technological production techniques, and, therefore, is useful way to study interaction between prehistoric people. In this work 38 ceramic fragments from Justino and São José sites, in Brazilian northeast, were analyzed using instrumental neutron activation analysis (INAA). The recognition of the compositionally homogeneous group within of the database was performed by means of principal component (PC). The PC scores were calculated on the matrix covariance of the log base 10 transformed concentration values, and grouping was sought in the PC scores using Kernel Density Estimates (KDE). By using KDE from PC scores two chemically different groups were found. Discriminant analysis was performed to assess the groups' validity. Despite of the pottery from Justino and São José sites present same technical profile, different of the Tupiguarani and Aratu traditions, it was obtained that Justino and São José samples are constitute of distinct ceramic pastes. This result can be understood in terms of the cultural influences in the preparation of the ceramic past and that potteries analyzed are originate locally.

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