Natural scientific analyses of a faience bead from a Nitra-culture grave in Slatinice, district of Olomouc
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Several turquoise-coloured faience beads were revealed from a female grave of the Nitra-culture burial ground near Slatinice. Finds of the numerous faience beads occur in some graves in necropolises belonging to the Late Aeneolithic and Early Bronze Age. The natural scientific methods (optic and electron microscopy and microanalyses) help solve the question of the faience beads origin - whether they were made by the Nitra culture bearers or they were imported from the distant regions. The microscopic analyses proved that the faience bead under study from 95% consists of the various in size fragments of sharp angular quartz which were glued together with a small amount of lime or clay and the bead was probably moulded. After it had been dried up, the bead was burnt at the temperature lower than 800 °C. Then it was dipped into a glazing solution with the copper oxides and then burnt again or annealed at the higher temperatures. High up to very high, almost constant content of potassium and corresponding content of sodium are typical for interstitial glasses of faience and blue copper cores. In the beads from Egypt the normalized K2O content in copper blue colours is 11.9 %. Compared with this, the MgO content is very low. These results make us presuppose that for a production of the faiences ash was used as a source of alkali that is very rich in potassium, poor in MgO and have neutral content of CaO. The results of the realized analyses of the finds from Slatinice prove that the artefact the most probably was not made by the Nitra culture bearers. The concordance between our results and data published to finds of the faience artefacts from Egypt is remarkable. We have compared our measured data with chemical composition of the younger Egyptian artefacts (around 1500 BC). The time gap of one or two hundred years makes no obstruction in this case, as the glass colouring as well as a production of the frits and faience artefacts is proved to have a longer tradition. Hence we can state that in the Nitra culture period (1800-1600 BC) the faience beads were desired trade article transported from Egypt probably.
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