Forensic exploration of the mechanical properties of basalt grains in earthenware

Dennis Braekmans, Max Broekman, Bernd Grashof, Max Oudshoorn, Lennard Uittenbroek, Loe F.H.C. Jacobs

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleScientificpeer-review


The overall goal of this project is to contribute to reconstruct the innovation mechanisms and development of ceramic production using forensic engineering techniques. Instead of optimizing materials as a driver in modern engineering, here we wish to use these methodologies, but aim to solve questions on advancement in the past fabrication process – and thus ultimately understand the key issues of a less or (un)successful design and subsequent improvement. This paper wishes to address the advantages and constraints regarding to use of basalt in ceramic matrices. By utilizing a standardized set of different test bars comprising different amounts of basalt fired at both 800°C and 1000°C, it can be concluded basalt tempered ceramics have a higher fracture toughness when compared to quartz enriched materials. It is there plausible to identify basalt as a good temper material for (ancient) earthenwares in terms of thermal (shock) activities.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)149-160
JournalArchaeological and Environmental Forensic Science
Volume1 (2017)
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 2019


  • ancient ceramics
  • fracture toughness
  • Levant
  • basalt temper
  • experimental archaeology


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