Thin Section Petrography of Neolithic Pottery from Northeast India

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Pankaj Singh
Sukanya Sharma
Jayanta Jivan Laskar


Twenty nine potsherds from nine Neolithic sites of Northeast India have been analysed using thin section petrography. The primary objectives of this article are to determine their provenance, to investigate the production techniques of Neolithic pottery and to understand the technical skills of the ancient potters of the studied region. Based on their mineralogical content and the composition of the matrices, the pottery samples have been classified into eleven fabric groups. The analysis of the fabrics showed dissimilarities in the processing and production of ceramics which were otherwise very similar at first sight. The dissimilarities provided indications of the clay sources and the occurrence of natural and artificial temper/inclusions, e.g., organic or inorganic substances used by the Neolithic potters of Northeast India during manufacturing processes. In all fabric groups, we found ironbearing materials which show that the ancient potters used local clay to make pottery because the soil in this region contains a high amount of ferruginous substances. The results also confirmed that the analysed pottery was probably fired below 800 °C under an oxidizing atmosphere and also revealed the use of non-plastic inclusions, such as sand, quartz and organic materials during pottery production.

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How to Cite
Singh et al. 2023: P. Singh/S. Sharma/J. J. Laskar, Thin Section Petrography of Neolithic Pottery from Northeast India. JNA 25, 2023, 149–164. DOI: