Archaeological and Anthropological Sciences

, Volume 11, Issue 9, pp 4711–4728 | Cite as

X-ray computed microtomography of Late Copper Age decorated bowls with cross-shaped foots from central Slovenia and the Trieste Karst (North-Eastern Italy): technology and paste characterisation

  • Federico BernardiniEmail author
  • Elena Leghissa
  • David Prokop
  • Anton Velušček
  • Angelo De Min
  • Diego Dreossi
  • Sandro Donato
  • Claudio Tuniz
  • Francesco Princivalle
  • Manuela Montagnari Kokelj
Original Paper


About 20 Late Copper Age bowls with cross-shaped foots from Deschmann’s pile dwellings (Ljubljansko barje, central Slovenia) and Trieste Karst (North-Eastern Italy) have been investigated using X-ray computed microtomography (microCT) in order to study the vessel-forming technique, to characterise their pastes and to test the hypothesis that some Karst bowls could have been imported from nowadays central Slovenia or even more distant regions. In three selected virtual slices per sample, clay, lithic inclusions and pores have been segmented and quantified. In addition, the area, maximum length and width of each lithic inclusion have been calculated. Then, the microCT-derived results have been statistically analysed by principal component analysis (PCA). The orientation of pores and disjunctions in microCT volumes show that the basins of the bowls were built using mainly the coiling technique, while the base was shaped starting from a central piece, to which a layer of clay was added and then reshaped in order to produce the foots. The Slovenian bowls include both medium/coarse-grained and very fine- or fine-grained vessels mainly tempered with carbonate inclusions. The pastes of the Karst bowls are considerably heterogeneous. One bowl was most likely imported to the Karst but not from central Slovenia as it shows peculiar components, shape and decoration. The other two imported vessels show a very fine-grained paste comparable to the one of several samples from Deschmann’s pile dwellings. Such technological similarity is confirmed by PCA of microCT data and petrographic observations. Our study confirms the existence of strong cultural connections between central Slovenia and the northernmost Adriatic coast during the Late Copper Age.


Late Copper Age decorated bowls Central Slovenia Trieste Karst (North-Eastern Italy) X-ray computed microtomography PCA of microCT-derived data Technology Paste characterisation 



We are grateful to Margherita Di Giovannantonio for the language review of the paper.

Funding information

David Prokop has been financially supported by the Ministry of Education, Youth and Sports of the Czech Republic under the project CEITEC 2020 (LQ1601) and by the project CEITEC Nano Research Infrastructure (MEYS CR, 2016–2019). Sandro Donato is partially supported by Consorzio per la Fisica Trieste. This research has been supported by Fondo Ricerca Ateneo 2018 of Trieste University in the framework of the project SCAN (Studio mineralogico, petrografico e strutturale di Ceramiche ANtiche tramite metodologie convenzionali e innovative).

Supplementary material

12520_2019_811_MOESM1_ESM.xlsx (17 kb)
Supplementary Table 1 Areas (μm2) of clay, lithic inclusions and pores in three slices per sample. (XLSX 17 kb)


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag GmbH Germany, part of Springer Nature 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  • Federico Bernardini
    • 1
    • 2
    Email author
  • Elena Leghissa
    • 3
  • David Prokop
    • 4
    • 5
  • Anton Velušček
    • 3
  • Angelo De Min
    • 6
  • Diego Dreossi
    • 7
  • Sandro Donato
    • 8
    • 9
  • Claudio Tuniz
    • 1
    • 2
  • Francesco Princivalle
    • 6
  • Manuela Montagnari Kokelj
    • 10
  1. 1.Centro Fermi, Museo Storico della Fisica e Centro di Studi e Ricerche “Enrico Fermi”RomeItaly
  2. 2.Multidisciplinary LaboratoryThe Abdus Salam International Centre for Theoretical PhysicsTriesteItaly
  3. 3.Institute of Archaeology, ZRC SAZULjubljanaSlovenia
  4. 4.Central European Institute of Technology (CEITEC)BrnoCzech Republic
  5. 5.Institute of Physical EngineeringBrno University of TechnologyBrnoCzech Republic
  6. 6.Department of Mathematics and GeosciencesUniversity of TriesteTriesteItaly
  7. 7.Elettra-Sincrotrone Trieste S.C.p.A.TriesteItaly
  8. 8.Department of PhysicsUniversity of TriesteTriesteItaly
  9. 9.INFN Sezione di TriesteTriesteItaly
  10. 10.Department of Humanistic StudiesUniversity of TriesteTriesteItaly

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