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Analysis of wall plasters and natural sediments from the Neolithic town of Çatalhöyük (Turkey) by a range of analytical techniques

Anderson, E., Almond, M. and Matthews, W. (2014) Analysis of wall plasters and natural sediments from the Neolithic town of Çatalhöyük (Turkey) by a range of analytical techniques. Spectrochimica Acta Part A: Molecular and Biomolecular Spectroscopy, 133. pp. 326-334. ISSN 1386-1425

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To link to this item DOI: 10.1016/j.saa.2014.04.072

Abstract/Summary

Wall plaster sequences from the Neolithic town of Çatalhöyük have been analysed and compared to three types of natural sediment found in the vicinity of the site, using a range of analytical techniques. Block samples containing the plaster sequences were removed from the walls of several different buildings on the East Mound. Sub-samples were examined by IR spectroscopy, X-ray diffraction and X-ray fluorescence to determine the overall mineralogical and elemental composition, whilst thin sections were studied using optical polarising microscopy, IR Microscopy and Environmental Scanning Electron Microscopy with Energy Dispersive X-ray analysis. The results of this study have shown that there are two types of wall plaster found in the sequences and that the sediments used to produce these were obtained from at least two distinct sources. In particular, the presence of clay, calcite and magnesian calcite in the foundation plasters suggested that these were prepared predominantly from a marl source. On the other hand, the finishing plasters were found to contain dolomite with a small amount of clay and no calcite, revealing that softlime was used in their preparation. Whilst marl is located directly below and around Çatalhöyük, the nearest source of softlime is 6.5 km away, an indication that the latter was important to the Neolithic people, possibly due to the whiter colour (5Y 8/1) of this sediment. Furthermore, the same two plaster types were found on each wall of Building 49, the main building studied in this research, and in all five buildings investigated, suggesting that the use of these sources was an established practice for the inhabitants of several different households across the site.

Item Type:Article
Refereed:Yes
Divisions:Interdisciplinary centres and themes > Chemical Analysis Facility (CAF)
Faculty of Life Sciences > School of Chemistry, Food and Pharmacy > Department of Chemistry
ID Code:38487
Publisher:Elsevier

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