Inlaid ceramics belonging to the Encrusted Pottery Culture and dated to the Middle Bronze Age (2000–1500 BC) are highly distinctive vessels with complex decorative motifs found in large numbers in the Transdanubia region of Hungary. Despite this considerable corpus of material there has been little systematic investigation of the composition of the inlays. Micro-analysis of Transdanubian inlaid wares by X-ray diffraction (XRD), micro-Fourier transform infrared microscopy (FT-IR), and scanning electron microscopy (SEM) provides new compositional, structural and textural information on the inlays. In contrast to common statements in the literature regarding the materials used to make inlays, these new data show that the majority of inlays are composed of hydroxyapatite (bone) that was previously ashed, although some of the inlays are composed of calcium carbonate. Additional compositional and textural variation in the bone inlays suggests that bone material from different skeletal elements and/or of different age may have been used, and that contrasting recipes for inlay preparation were employed during fabrication. These results suggest that the production of inlaid vessels of the Encrusted Pottery Culture was more complex than has hitherto been thought
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