Petrography of locally produced pottery from the Dutch colonial Cape of Good Hope, South Africa

Stacey C. Jordan, Carmel Schrire, Duncan Miller

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15 Scopus citations


Thin section petrographic analysis of 17th and 18th century coarse earthenware excavated from Dutch colonial sites at the Cape of Good Hope, South Africa distinguishes locally produced and imported wares. Results of the identification and textural analysis of mineral inclusions in the ceramic fabrics of suspected local products and suspected and known imported vessels were compared with the known geologic raw material sources of the European Rhine-Meuse River system and local weathered Cape granite, enabling a characterization of the local products. The angular, poorly sorted and rounded inclusions combined with the retention of easily decomposed minerals and polycrystalline quartz in suspected local samples mirror the mineralogy of the Cape granite, historically documented as a clay raw material source at the Dutch settlement. This profile, contrasting significantly from that of the fluvial European source, strongly supports the inference of local provenance for the suspected local vessels.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1327-1337
Number of pages11
JournalJournal of Archaeological Science
Issue number11
StatePublished - Oct 1999

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Archaeology
  • Archaeology


  • Ceramic petrography
  • Coarse earthenware
  • Colonialism
  • Dutch East India Company (VOC)
  • Historical archaeology
  • South Africa


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