ceraDAT - A relational database for archaeological ceramics database



ceraDAT is a prototype relational database for archaeological ceramics, comprising chemical, archaeological, petrographic and mineralogical data of prehistoric ceramics from the Aegean and wider Eastern Mediterranean Region. The starting point and preliminary core of the present database were the chemical data of archaeological ceramics collected by the neutron activation analysis (NAA) laboratories at the Institute of Materials Science at the National Centre of Scientific Research “Demokritos” (Greece) and at the Helmholtz Institute for Nuclear Physics at the University of Bonn (Germany). Both laboratories are engaged in scientific analysis of archaeological ceramics for many years with special focus on the Aegean prehistory. The data acquired comprise thousands of individual ceramic samples from Mainland Greece, the Peloponnese, the Cyclades, Crete, the Dodecannese, Asia Minor, Cyprus and neighbouring areas. The data at N.C.S.R. “Demokritos” and in Bonn are to a large extent complementary. Therefore, a combination of the databases was expected to provide an enhanced level of information.

Apart from the chemical compositions, determined by NAA, further data of the ceramics are available, in terms of archaeological and typological description but also in terms of petrographic and mineralogical examination. Therefore it was decided to use for the development of a new database a relational database management system (RDBMS) providing high flexibility in terms of incorporating diverse types of information and in terms of complex search criteria (Hein et al. 2004, Hein and Kilikoglou in press). In view of comparability of chemical analyses calibration factors can be used based on analyses of standard reference materials, which are included in ceraDAT (Hein et al. 2002). This provides also the possibility to incorporate chemical data from other laboratories for straightforward comparison. Already included is a NAA data set of 983 ceramic samples analysed by the Lawrence Berkeley Laboratory in the 1970s (Mommsen et al. 2002). Finally, ceraDAT comprises analyses of raw materials used for pottery production. Currently <> ceramic analyses, <> raw material analyses and <> standard reference analyses are included.


  1. Hein, A., Tsolakidou, A., Iliopoulos, I., Mommsen, H., Buxeda i Garrigós, J., Montana, G., Kilikoglou, V. (2002) Standardisation of elemental analytical techniques applied to provenance studies of archaeological ceramics: An inter laboratory calibration study, Analyst 127, 542-553.
  2. Hein, A., Kilikoglou, V., Mommsen, H. (2005) Availability of Chemical Data of Archaeological Ceramics- Proposal for an Internet Database In H. Kars and E. Burke (eds.) Proceedings of the 33rd International Symposium on Archaeometry, 22-26 April 2002, Amsterdam, 203-206 [PDF]
  3. Mommsen, H., Beier, Th., Hein, A. (2002) A complete chemical grouping of the Berkeley neutron activation analysis data on Mycenaean pottery, Journal of Archaeological Science 29, 613-637.
  4. Hein, A., Kilikoglou, V. (2012) ceraDAT - Prototype of a web-based relational database for archaeological ceramics, Archaeometry 54, 230-243
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