MINING CAMP OR MINING VILLAGE: MINERALOGICAL CORRELATION OF LATE BRONZE AGE POTTERY TEMPER AND ADJACENT TIN PLACER SANDS, WEST SERBIA
Sherds were examined to identify minerals that comprised the sand temper, first on the surface and then in the crushed fragments. SEM-EDS analysis of heavy mineral sand grains indicates that they are predominantly (up to 50%) spessartine-almandine garnets with a limited compositional range (~1:1 Fe:Mn). Other heavy minerals present within the ceramics include two Sn-bearing minerals, cassiterite (SnO2) and ixiolite ([Ta,Nb,Sn,Mn,Fe]O2). This is consistent with the mineral composition of sand collected from the Milinska River, in which spessartine-almandine garnet comprises 70% of the medium to coarse-grained heavy mineral sand component, and tin-bearing minerals are present. Thus, the mineralogical composition of the pottery sherds indicates that the ceramics were constructed using temper sands obtained from the Milinska River, thereby supporting the hypothesis that moderate to long term habitation occurred on the site in the Late Bronze Age.