The British Museum has one of the largest collections of Levantine ceramics in the UK. Many of these assemblages represent communities that flourished along the Jordan Valley (JV) during a critical period of proto-urban development known as the Early Bronze Age (EBA, 3600-2000 BC). These are displayed by site and have traditionally been described by form and decoration. The project seeks to explore new narratives through the scientific characterisation of these ceramics, particularly concerning the provenance of their clays, and their sequence of production (the chaîne opératoire) involving clay preparation, surface treatment and firing. Methods will include petrographic analysis, automated SEM mineralogical analysis, geochemical analysis, archaeological science and textural SEM-EDS analysis at the scientific laboratories at the British Museum and Durham University. These analyses will help identify communities of ceramic production that emerged in the JV over time, and articulate networks of exchange that developed between them.
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