This paper presents results from the initial stage of an ongoing project exploring changes in pottery production at the Late Bronze Age/Early Iron Age transition in the south-western part of the Iberian Peninsula. For the chosen study area this period is of particular interest because of the introduction of new pottery types, manufacuring techniques, and possibly also different organisational models in the wake of the Phoenician expansion into the western Mediterranean. The initial stage of our project focused on samples from the key site of Setefilla, with a methodology based on both non-destructive and destructive analysis of ceramic samples: 1) non-destructive X-ray fluorescence spectrometry (XRF), 2) very precise optical emission spectrometry (OES) and 3) petrography of pottery samples. The results of this research show a significant correlation between manufacturing techniques, type of clay paste used and elemental composition. Alongside this approach we also conducted a radiocarbon dating programme on cremated human remains from the site, to provide a chronological context for any changes observed in the pottery assemblage over time. Our results demonstrate that through systematic spectrographic and petrographic analysis we can overcome some of the basic problems relating to the chemical and petrographic identification of different pottery groups, with a view to establishing the provenance of so-called “imports”.
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