Submerged and reused: An archaeometric approach to the early Modern ceramics from Aveiro (Portugal)

Uxue Sanchez-Garmendia, Patrícia Carvalho, José Bettencourt, Ricardo S. Silva, Gorka Arana, Javier G. Inanez

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

2 Citations (Scopus)


Aveiro, a city located in northern Portugal that lies next to the Atlantic Ocean, has a long potting tradition. Indeed, during the 15th-17th centuries, this region played an important role in the maritime trade between the north of Europe, the Iberian Peninsula and the Atlantic. Historical records reflect regular trade contacts between ship-owners and masters of Aveiro with English, Irish, Flemish, Galician and Basque entrepreneurs, in Europe and overseas.

The archaeological research carried out on the Ria de Aveiro A (RAVA) shipwreck collection (16th beginning 17th centuries), revealed a large amount of ceramics as cargo, tentatively produced in Aveiro Region. That was compared to a collection from Santo Antonio church, in Aveiro, which includes ceramics used to fill the upper choir dome, with an exact chronology (1524), also manufactured in Aveiro. Such set of pottery enabled the establishment of a typology divided in three groups, used in everyday life at that time in Aveiro (tableware, long-distance storage and transportation and sugar moulds) and combining red and black pastes and shiny and matte black finished surfaces.

With a view to characterize and to assess the provenance of local or regional origin of this Post-Medieval pottery assemblage from the two sites, an archaeometric approach of 25 unglazed ceramics showing red and black pastes has been performed. In this way, chemical and mineralogical analyses have been carried out by Inductively Coupled Plasma-Mass Spectrometry (ICP-MS) and X-Ray Diffraction (XRD), and microstructural analysis by Scanning Electron Microscopy-Energy Dispersive Spectrometry (SEM-EDS) analytical techniques. The results show that ceramics from RAVA have a compatible chemical fingerprint with those from the church, forming the A-1 local production reference group. Moreover, the A-1 reference group has been further assessed by comparing against the main reference groups from the Iberian Peninsula.
Original languageEnglish
Article number102648
Pages (from-to)1-18
Number of pages18
JournalJournal of Archaeological Science: Reports
Publication statusPublished - Dec 2020


  • Pottery
  • Aveiro
  • Shipwreck
  • Archaeometric
  • ICP-MS
  • DRX


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