Graduation Year


Document Type




Degree Name

Master of Arts (M.A.)



Degree Granting Department


Major Professor

Robert H. Tykot, Ph.D.

Committee Member

Thomas Pluckhahn, Ph.D.

Committee Member

E. Christian Wells, Ph.D.


Ancient Exchange, Archaeometry, Ceramics, Materiality, Mediterranean Archaeology, pXRF


The Etruscan civilization was rich in local and interregional trade. Its exchange networks were vital in establishing relationships with other societies, importing exotic materials and goods, as well as disseminating and assimilating information. However, there is little understanding of the participation of smaller inland settlements in the act of exchange. This research answers questions pertaining to the purpose of trade within these self-sustaining communities, the reliability of identifying geographic locations of the clay used in ancient ceramics through the use of non-destructive X-ray Fluorescence (XRF) spectrometry without sampling current regional clay sources, and the materiality of the ceramics being exchanged in order to establish major forms of production for each settlement. The analyses of trace elements contained within the ceramic materials previously excavated from two remote Etruscan sites (La Piana and Cetamura) can provide a greater understanding of both the trade practices of the Etruscan culture and the reliability of the sourcing methods.

Over 100 ceramics ranging from storage containers, bricks and roofing tiles, amphorae, loom weights, and tableware (including red and black gloss) from Cetamura and La Piana were selected to represent a sample base for local and non-local crafted ceramics. The artifacts were analyzed non-destructively using a Bruker Tracer III-SD portable X-ray fluorescence spectrometer (pXRF), which has been shown to be highly successful in other archaeological studies. Six trace elements (rubidium, strontium, yttrium, zirconium, niobium and thorium) of each artifact were recorded and analyzed using principal component analysis to create a comparable data set. The results confirm that while these Etruscan settlements were self-sustaining, they were still participating in long-distance exchanges.