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


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: ziskandar@ukm.edu.my

Abstract: 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.

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

DOI : https://doi.org/10.7186/wg471202102