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Networking through pottery characterisation at Takarkori rock shelter (Libyan Sahara, 10,200–4650 cal BP)

  • Eramo, Giacomo1
  • Muntoni, Italo M.2
  • Aprile, Anna1
  • Pallara, Mauro1
  • Rotunno, Rocco3
  • Zerboni, Andrea4
  • di Lernia, Savino3, 5
  • 1 Università degli Studi Aldo Moro, Via Orabona, 4, Bari, 70125, Italy , Bari (Italy)
  • 2 Soprintendenza ABAP per le province di BAT e FG, Via Alberto A. Valentini 8, Foggia, 71121, Italy , Foggia (Italy)
  • 3 Sapienza Università di Roma, Piazzale Aldo Moro 5, Rome, 00185, Italy , Rome (Italy)
  • 4 Università degli Studi di Milano, Via L. Mangiagalli 34, Milan, 20133, Italy , Milan (Italy)
  • 5 University of Witwatersrand, Johannesburg, South Africa , Johannesburg (South Africa)
Published Article
Archaeological and Anthropological Sciences
Springer Berlin Heidelberg
Publication Date
Aug 25, 2020
DOI: 10.1007/s12520-020-01118-x
Springer Nature


Routine pottery analyses (optical microscopy, X-ray powder diffraction, X-ray fluorescence) and digital image processing of polarised light photomicrographs were used to answer questions on the provenance and technology of pottery assemblages belonging to Late Acacus hunter–gatherers (ca. 10,200–8000 cal BP) and Pastoral herders (ca. 8300–4650 cal BP) from Takarkori rock shelter (SW Libya, central Sahara). This integrated analytical approach on potsherds was combined with the characterisation of local clayey sediments to identify different local and proximal sources for coarse and fine sediments exploited for pottery production. Two main fabric groups (i.e. Q* and QF*) were identified among the analysed potsherds, where the sediments from the Takarkori area are compatible with the quartz-dominated fabrics (Q*). The local fabric QVe shows evidence of dung addition. Pottery with plutonic non-plastic inclusions (QF*) points to provenance from the southern edges of the Tassili n’Ajjer and is more frequent in Late Acacus and Early Pastoral layers. New insights into pottery production and circulation between Early Holocene Saharan hunter–gatherers and Pastoral communities, as well as into modes of occupation of Takarkori rock shelter, are provided.

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