The scientists presented the results of the studies of the ceramic collections retrieved from Old Karelian fortified settlements situated on the North-Eastern coast of Lake Ladoga. Samples of wheel-thrown pottery from 12th-16th century hillforts discovered by archaeologists were studied by a combination of both traditional archaeological and state-of-the-art mineralogical-geochemical methods. Owing to this multidisciplinary collaboration, scientists from the two institutes have handled a number of tasks associated with the development of the typology of medieval ceramics, remodeling of the pottery making technology and localization of the production sources.
Using a set of methods (optical and scanning electron microscopy, Xray diffraction and differential thermal analyses, Raman spectroscopy, inductively coupled plasma mass spectrometry) scientists managed to find out what Old Karelian included in the claybody, aka ‘dough’, how the vessel was formed and even the temperature at which it was fired. Furthermore, archaeologists and geologists together detected which items were made in the Ladoga area and which ones were imported, for instance, from the ancient Oreshek (medieval fortress at the source of the Neva River).
Relying on these data, scientists together with an experienced ceramic artist Oksana Uchen’ have made a trial reconstruction of a pottery making facility and produced pottery samples by using medieval technology with all the requisite procedures, supplying valuable material for future studies.
It remains to say that such integrated studies of pottery ware in contemporary Russian archaeology are still under development. The innovative nature of the work done by KarRC RAS scientists calls for application of the most advanced geochemical analysis techniques: for some of the methods this was, in fact, their first application in Russian science.