interpretation of an archaeological site, being the fundamental tool used by archaeologists for dating sites or for determining trading patterns, cultural exchanges between peoples and social structures.In the last decades, an impressive range of analytical techniques (i.e.X-ray fluorescence, neutron activation analysis, SEM-EDS, X-ray diffraction,
etc.) have been exploited with considerable success to produce detailed
"fingerprints" that can be used to ascertain the provenance and to reconstruct the technologies used in the manufacture of the ancient artefacts .
Contrary to other European regions, in Romania only very few
investigations on prehistoric pottery have been made using modern
techniques [2-3]. Consequently, in spite of the large quantities of ancient ceramic material collected from archaeological excavations, there are still many unknown aspects about the origin and production techniques of the prehistoric pottery discovered on the actual Romanian territory.
In the last years, one of the most controversial issues of the Romanian
archaeology was related to a Neolithic painted ceramic material belonging to the "Lumea Noua" culture (first half of the 5th Millennium B. C.). "Lumea Noua" pottery was found in relatively small quantities in few settlements (Alba Iulia-Lumea Noua, Limba, Tartaria, Zau de Campie, Cheile Turzii) from Transylvania and the painted decoration patterns show strong analogies with the ceramic finds from Slovakia (Bukk and Raskovce cultures) , Hungary (Esztar and Bukk cultures)  and Ukraine (Diakovo culture) ,and North-Western of Romania (Piscolt group) .
The present study is part of a systematic archaeometric investigation on
"Lumea Noua" pottery discovered at Alba Iulia-Lumea Noua settlement aiming at establishing its production technology in terms of the raw materials used, forming and firing procedures. The selected pottery samples were studied by X-ray fluorescence, X-ray diffraction and optical microscopy in order to obtain chemical, mineralogical and petrographic information.
RESULTS AND DISCUSSION
Thin-sections analysis (texture and mineralogy)
The observation of the thin-section of the samples under the polarizing
microscope revealed that the 21 "Lumea Noua" potsherds display aplastic
inclusions of various type, abundance and grain-size. Moreover, different types of relicts of micro-fossils (i.e. bioclasts, bivalve, algae and foraminifera) have been identified.
According to the absence or presence of the fossil relics, the "Lumea
Noua" potteries have been grouped into two main "petrographic groups".
Beside bioclasts, the abundance, type and size of aplastic inclusions are other parameters used to ascertain the groups.Group 1 consists of 9 pottery samples (LN1 - LN 9) which do not enclose bioclasts in their ceramic body (Figure 1).
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