Bronze Age Ceramics from Pheneos

The analytical element of this project uses thin section petrography, scanning electron microscopy-energy dispersive spectroscopy and neutron activation analysis to investigate the raw materials and firing practices used to make Early to Late Bronze Age ceramics from the settlement of Achaia Pheneos.

Middle Bronze Age settlement remains were discovered directly underneath the late classical city wall on the eastern plateau of the acropolis of Pheneos, during excavations conducted 2011–2015 under the direction of Konstantinos Kissas (Εφορεία Αρχαιοτήτων Κορινθίας) and Peter Scherrer (University of Graz). Contexts and finds are of particular importance because so far only a few Middle Bronze Age sites from this remote part of the Peloponnese are known.

The Pottery

Typologically, the ceramic repertoire covers the typical range of a settlement assemblage with fine wares, household pottery, cooking vessels and storage containers (cf. the project ›Middle Bronze Age Pottery from the Acropolis of Pheneos/Corinthia‹). In 2016 Clare Burke was invited to archaeometetrically investigate the prehistoric ceramics from Pheneos in order to establish their raw materials, potential provenance, their firing conditions and the nature of particular surface treatments. 

From over 1300 diagnostic sherds 150 samples of Early–Middle, Middle and Late Bronze Age pottery were taken for thin section petrography. Of the 150 samples, 13 were sub-sampled for analysis by SEM-EDS at the National Center for Scientific Research ‘Demokritos’, Athens. The results obtained demonstrate that the community at Pheneos were supplied by a number of local potters who were able to make a wide repertoire of shapes and styles to satisfy the daily needs of the site's inhabitants. In addition, the community also took part on a very small scale in wider regional and supra-regional trade networks with imports from other parts of Corinthia and the island of Aegina.

We are currently undertaking NAA analysis of a number of suspected finewares in cooperation with Johannes Sterba (Atominstitut, Technische Universität Wien) and results are expected to indicate additional imports to the site.

Principal Investigator



since 2015


  • Institute for Aegean Prehistory
  • University of Graz