Ceramic Temper and identity groups

Ceramic temper

Identification and classification of Neolithic tempering agents

The project aims at the identification and classification of Neolithic tempering agents of different archaeological cultures, with special attention on the LBK and La Hoguette traditions (Early Neolithic of central Europe).

The difference in temper (organic fibres/sand, grog and haematite vs. bones) seems to mark a pronounced border between two cultural traditions, coming from the Pannonian basin (Starcevo-Körös) and the Western Mediterranean (Cardial) respectively. While there are occasional imitations of pottery patterns, the temper seems to have had a deeper meaning and is maintained. Bone temper continues into the Blicquy and VSG traditions. Rössen sherds tempered with poppy seeds point to the potential significance of plants.

No identification of the animal species the bones come from has been undertaken yet, this will be accomplished by thin-section analysis. Phytoliths may be identified via the use of high-resultion 3-D tomography (Bente). The origin of haematite used for temper will be analysed via thin-sections, further analytical methods will be tested.

Related outputs

  • This research project is in the early stages of development and details of publications and related outputs will be made available here in due course.


  • Applications are being made to the DFG (German Research Foundation)

Project Leader:

Project Partners:

  • Wolf-Rüdiger Teegen, Ludwig-Maximilians-Universität München Institut für Vor- und Frühgeschichtliche Archäologie und Provinzialrömische Archäologie Geschwister-Scholl-Platz 1 80539 München
  • Klaus Bente, Institut für Mineralogie, Kristallographie und Materialwissenschaft (IMKM), Universität Leipzig


Further information:

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