Identifying Scottish Clays

August 10, 2011
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Researchers are using a new technology to find out more about 12th century Scottish pottery.

New identification techniques have recently helped researchers find out more about 12th century Scottish pottery. A study funded by Historic Scotland allowed researchers to use inductively coupled plasma mass spectroscopy (ICP-MS) to investigate and define a number of clay sources across Scotland. After examining ceramic fragments from several major abbeys and kiln sites, the research team was able to isolate the distinct sources of production--even those that are just half a mile apart. The information gathered during the study will aid ceramic researchers and Scottish historians in their understanding of ancient pottery.

Historic Scotland is an executive government agency that aims to preserve Scotland's rich historic past and encourage others to understand and enjoy the country's history. For more information, visit

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