Geochemical characterization of pottery shards unearthed from Kampung Baru Archaeological Site, Kedah, Malaysia

Warta Geologi Vol 47 No 1
Author : Zuliskandar Ramli, Muhammad Nu’man Mohd Nasir, Muhamad Shafiq Mohd Ali
Publication : Warta Geologi
Page : 9 - 18
Volume Number : 47
Year : 2021

Warta Geologi, Vol. 47, No. 1, April 2021, pp. 9–18


Geochemical characterization of pottery shards unearthed
from Kampung Baru Archaeological Site, Kedah, Malaysia


Zuliskandar Ramli1,*, Muhammad Nu’man Mohd Nasir1,2,
Muhamad Shafiq Mohd Ali1

1 Laboratory of Archaeology and Archaeometry,
Institute of the Malay World and Civilisation (ATMA), Universiti Kebangsaan
Malaysia, Bangi, Malaysia

2 Department of History, Faculty of Arts and
Social Sciences, University of Malaya, Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia

* Corresponding author email address:


Candi Kampung Baru is situated in the Kampung Baru Archaeological Site, and
it is one of the temple sites that used bricks as the main construction
material. Based on the Global Positioning System, Candi Kampung Baru is located
at N 05.58215°, E 100. 38004°. Apart from bricks, granite stones were also used
as the pillar base of the construction’s structure. This study is an analytical
approach on the pottery properties of clays discovered at the Kampung Baru
Archaeological Site. X-ray diffraction (XRD), X-ray fluorescence (XRF) and
physical analysis have been performed on these potsherds. 15 pottery shard
samples were analysed to determine the chemical and mineralogical characteristics
of the pottery shards. The results indicate a local provenance of these
samples. The mineral content in the pottery samples also indicate the presence
of minerals, such as quartz, illite, datolite and microcline. Furthermore, the
physical analysis conducted uncovered a variety of motifs that adorned the
earthenware, such as lines, nets, square and floral motifs. The mineral content
and physical observation of the pottery shards indicate that the open burning
technique was used to produce these pottery shards due to the presence of
illite mineral in the pottery shards. The mineral content (namely illite) also
shows that the samples were baked at a temperature between 650°C and 750°C. The
content of the major and trace elements also proves that these potteries were
produced from the same source and it is proposed that local raw materials were
used in the production of the potteries, from which the nearest source that
could be detected is at the Muda River basin. Moreover, the involvement of the local
community in producing the potteries should not be refuted, as this proves that
the knowledge of producing pottery by the local community had already started
since the evolution of the Neolithic culture at the Muda River basin since 4000
to 5000 years ago.


Pottery, Kedah, Kampung Baru Archaeological Site, Muda River, Bujang Valley,
X-ray diffraction (XRD), X-ray fluorescence (XRF)




0126–5539; e-ISSN 2682-7549