Emily Kracht

Emily Kracht

Analytical Chemistry Methods in Ceramic Analysis to Determine Provenance and Production of Pottery in the Caribbean and Bahamian Islands


Emily Kracht, William Keegan, Lindsay Bloch


Professor, William Keegan


Florida Museum of Natural History


The Lucayans of the Bahama Archipelago regularly interacted with the Taínos of the Caribbean, with the sea acting as a way of bridging these cultural groups to encourage regional interactions. Ceramics are a useful tool for tracking these relationships as both the style and elemental composition reveal information about where and how they were made. The islands of the archipelago are mostly carbonate while islands in the Caribbean are more geologically complex and include volcanic materials which are often reflected in ceramic recipes. A total of 45 ceramic and clay samples were taken from across the Bahama archipelago and Caribbean to undergo laser ablation inductively coupled plasma mass spectrometry (LA-ICP-MS) to determine their elemental composition. Results reveal much of the pottery in the Bahama Archipelago was locally made, with clay samples matching well with the ceramic samples. Most imported samples found in the archipelago appeared to be from northwestern Hispaniola, though one sample found on Long Island appeared to be from Cuba.


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