La Creta Fatta Concreta: The Italian Ceramic Clay Project (CFC)

Project Overview

La Creta Fatta Concreta - The Italian Ceramic Clay Project (CFC) draws together and presents information pertaining to 126 specimens of ceramic clay collected by J.Theodore Peña (JTP) in the course of research that he conducted in Italy between 1983 and 2016 in the context of several different ethnographic and archaeological projects.

The specimens come from various locales in five different regions of Italy - Tuscany, Umbria, LazioCampania, and Sardinia - and were either collected by JTP himself or were given to him by potters and other ceramic producers whom he encountered and in many cases interviewed about their clay use practices.

Fired tiles were produced from a large number of these specimens (N = 74) and the color of the unfired and fired material recorded.  For these tiles photomicrographs were made of the break and, for a substantial subset (n = 33), of a polished thick section.  Chemical  analysis (neturon activation analysis) was performed for a large number of the specimens in the raw state (N=84) and/or after firing to 750 degrees (N = 23) and/or 900 degrees C (N = 102).  A small group of specimens (N = 5) was also subjected to x-ray diffraction analysis in both the unfired (sub-2 micron and coarse fractions) and bulk fired state and a small group of specimens (N=7) was subjected to petrographic analysis.

The evidence collected by CFC and presented here will be of interest to archaeologists, ethnographers, art historians, materials scientists, geologists and others concerned with the technology of ceramic production in ancient and/or modern Italy.


The presentation of CFC consists of the following pages:

CFC - Project Assistance and Support: A short text that acknowledges the various entities and persons that/who provided logistical, scientific, and/or financial support for the research subsumed within the project.

CFC - Project Narrative:: A long text that details the circumstances under which each of the specimens was collected, describes the methods employed for their fabrication into tiles and their compositional analysis and describes the format of the databases presented on the two pages that follow.  This text also includes a large amount of incidental information regarding clay use practices and production practices more generally among recent and contemporary potters and producers of architectural ceramics in the regions of Italy in which the specimens were collected.

CFC - Clay Database: A database that presents in both a tabular display and a record display information regarding the specimens' collection, provenience, geologic origin, and employment for ceramic production; the specimens' color in the unfired and fired state; photomicrographs of untreated and polished fracture surfaces of the tiles made from the specimens; photomicrographs of the thin sections made for the specimens subjected to petrographic analysis; and diffractograms produced for the specimens subjected to x-ray diffraction analysis.

CFC - NAA Data : A set of three databases that present in both a tabular display and a record display the chemical data produced by the neutron activation analysis of the specimens.

CFC - Sources Cited: A list of the sources cited in the preceding pages.

CFC - Products - Data: Links to downloadable versions of the texts presented on the CFC- Project Narrative page and CFC- Sources Cited page and to dowlnoadable spreadsheets that contain the data presented on the CFC - Clay Database page and the CFC - NAA Database page.

CFC - Products - Other: A list of the publications, reports and presentations produced/delivered in connection with CFC along with links to downloadable versions of many of these.