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INSTITUTE OF ARCHAEOLOGY 2017-18

Interpreting Pottery
ARCL G112 Masters Option 15 credits

Josiah Wedgwood’s trials made during his 4 year bid to produce a ceramic copy of the (5-25 AD)
Roman glass vessel known as the ‘Portland Vase’ (successful vase exhibited in 1790 AD).

Mondays 10.00 am - 12.00 noon + 1 hour practical


Room B13
Course Coordinator: Dr. Bill Sillar
b.sillar@ucl.ac.uk
Room B16 Tel: 020 7679 1538 (internal 21538)

This handbook and online reading list are available through the IoA web site:

Turnitin ID code: 3545506 Password: IoA1718


Timetable and Coursework deadlines: see final page
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INTRODUCTION

This handbook contains basic information about the content and administration of this course. If you
have queries about the objectives, structure, content, assessment or organisation of the course, please
consult the Course Co-ordinator, Bill Sillar.

Further important information, relating to all courses at the Institute of Archaeology, is to be found at
http://www.ucl.ac.uk/archaeology/administration/students
and in the general MA/MSc handbook. It is your responsibility to read and act on this information
which includes details about submission and grading of coursework; disabilities; communication;
attendance; and feedback, etc.

AIMS
This course will introduce students to a wide range of techniques used in pottery studies, a consideration
of the research questions that ceramic research can be used to address, and a concern for the appropriate
reporting of ceramic research. More specifically the course aims:

1. To introduce students to the technology of pottery making from clay selection to firing with
reference to archaeological and ethnographic examples as well as student practicals.
2. To question the practice and purpose of diverse approaches to pottery processing, classification
and analysis.
3. To explore the ways in which archaeological evidence of pottery production, trade and use can be
studied and interpreted.
4. To critically examine the development of pottery studies in archaeology.

OBJECTIVES
Upon successful completion of this course, students will, among other things:
1. Be familiar with the physical processes of pottery production and be able to give careful
consideration to the social context within which it takes place.
2. Have an overview of recent archaeological approaches to the collection, analysis and interpretation
of ceramics.
3. Be able to evaluate the relevance and applicability of various methods of ceramic analysis used the
in archaeological units, museums and similar institutions in relation to wider archaeological
research questions

LEARNING OUTCOMES
On successful completion of the course students should be able to demonstrate/have developed:

1. The ability to read and listen to a range of different approaches to a topic and to write a reasoned
argument as to why they favour one or more of these.
2. Begun to develop the observational skills needed to identify the form, surface and fabric of pottery
and critically consider what this may mean in relation to the production or life history of the pot.
3. The ability to observe, or read about, analytical procedures and critically reflect on how these
procedures and their presentation affects the interpretation of data.

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COURSE OUTLINE
This is a half unit option for M.A., and M.Sc. students. It is intended to provide a general foundation
and introduction to pottery studies. The course picks up on many of the themes introduced in the core
course of the Artefact Studies MA and Technology MSc., but, by focusing on pottery we will be able to
explore the applicability of these themes in the practical analysis and interpretation of a specific class of
artefacts.

The course consists of lectures and seminar/practicals. The practical sessions will effectively be
seminars that incorporate both the handling of materials and a discussion on the problems, and purpose
of pottery analysis. There will be a particular focus on dealing with pottery assemblages and the diverse
ways in which pottery can be classified. This will include a brief introduction to more detailed scientific
methods of analysis (e.g. petrography and elemental analysis) but these can be explored further in the 2nd
term course ‘Archaeological Ceramics’ G 114.

This course will introduce students to the wide range of ways that archaeological pottery has been
studied with a strong emphasises on understanding techniques used in pottery making and practical
approaches to the study of pottery assemblages from excavations. The course starts with a consideration
of the properties of clay in order to discuss how potters choose specific techniques to collect and process
clays, to mix a clay paste that alters or enhances the physical properties of ‘natural’ clay, and for the
forming and firing of their ceramics. The potters’ choice of raw materials and techniques will be
considered in relation to both the physical properties of the materials and the influence of the wider
technological, economic, social and ideological setting of specific cultural situations. We shall then be
able to look at archaeological pottery with a view to identifying the forming techniques that were used in
the past; this will be based on examining the surface of the finished artefacts and fabric analysis.
Ethnographic and experimental work will be used throughout the course to illustrate some of the
problems and potential of ceramic analysis. We shall discuss traditional (cultural-historical) approaches
to pottery analysis, which were primarily based on the study of the morphology, decoration and
distribution of the pottery. This will be compared to more recent material science approaches to the
analysis of archaeological ceramics that have also been used to yield information on ceramic technology,
the provenance of the pottery and dating. We will review a number of themes that are commonly
addressed through artefact analysis (such as: Technology, Organisation of Production, Typologies, Trade
and Exchange, Consumption, and Style). The course aims to help students consider the relationship
between artefacts and the people who used them, as well as how to relate artefact analysis to other
aspects of archaeological research.

Ethnographic Pottery Firing: Raqchi, Peru

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TEACHING METHODS AND READING MATERIAL
Teaching for the course is through formal lectures, seminars, artefact handling sessions, and laboratory
visits. The course consists of ten two-hour sessions. These usually start with a one hour lecture
introducing a research theme and will either be followed by a practical that aims to introduce students to
the techniques of pottery making and archaeological analysis, or a further lecture and seminar session
taking a research topic to greater depth and discussing the essential reading for that week. These varied
formats are combined in order to provide you with a broad introduction to appropriate literature; the
opportunity to engage actively in debating these issues yourself, the chance to handle clay and see the
effects of different techniques and to compare this to the evidence from archaeological pottery.
Seminars have weekly recommended readings, which students are expected to have read ahead of the
class, so that they are be able to follow and actively contribute to discussion.

PREREQUISITES
There are no prerequisites for this course. This course (G112) is normally a prerequisite for taking
G114, Archaeological Ceramics, in the second term.

WORKLOAD: TEACHING HOURS AND ASSESSMENT


The course consists of 20 class hours of lectures and seminars, with a further 10 hours of less formal
practicals. Students are expected to undertake approximately 5 hours private reading each week to
prepare themselves prior to class and explore themes in greater depth after class (50 hours), as well as a
further 70 or so hours of reading and practical work to prepare an essay outline and final 3500 word
essay. This adds up to a total workload of some 150 hours for the course.

METHODS OF ASSESSMENT
This course is assessed by means of a total of around 4,000 words of coursework, divided into an essay
proposal of around 500 words, and a final essay of roughly 3500 words (NO MORE than 3675 words).
Essays that are longer than 3675 words will not have followed the assessment criterion and will be
penalised accordingly (relevant illustrations and the bibliography are not included as part of the word
limit). The topics and deadlines for the assessments are specified below. If students are unclear about
the nature of an assignment, they should contact the Course Co-ordinator.

HEALTH AND SAFETY


The Institute has a Health and Safety policy and code of practice which provides guidance on laboratory work,
etc. This is revised annually and the new edition can be found on the Institutes Intranet. All work undertaken in
the Institute is governed by these guidelines and students have a duty to be aware of them and to adhere to them at
all times. This is particularly important in the context of the laboratory work and fieldtrips which may be
undertaken as part of this course.

TEACHING SCHEDULE
Lectures will be held 10:00-12:00 a.m. on Mondays, in room B13. On days when smaller group
practical classes are organised the class will be split into groups and practicals will run from 11.00-
12.00, 12.00 -1.00 and 1.00 to 2.00 p.m. either in Room B13 or in the outside workspace in the
basement.

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Copy of enamel jug made and decorated by Shipibo-Conibo Potter, Ucayali River, Peru

Online Resources
The full UCL Institute of Archaeology coursework guidelines are given here:
http://www.ucl.ac.uk/archaeology/administration/students/handbook
The full text of this handbook is available here (includes clickable links to Moodle and online reading
lists) http://www.ucl.ac.uk/archaeology/studying/undergraduate/courses/ARCL1016

Attendance
A register will be taken at each class. If you are unable to attend a class, please notify the lecturer by
email. Departments are required to report each student’s attendance to UCL Registry at frequent
intervals throughout each term. Students are required to attend at least 70% of classes for each course
and will fail the course if they do not achieve 70% attendance.

Information for intercollegiate and interdepartmental students


Students enrolled in Departments outside the Institute should obtain the Institute’s coursework
guidelines from Judy Medrington (j.medrington@ucl.ac.uk), which will also be available on Moodle.

Coursework submission procedures


• All coursework must be submitted both as hard copy and electronically.
• You should staple the appropriate colour-coded IoA coversheet (available in the IoA library and
outside room 411a) to the front of each piece of work and submit it at the reception desk of the
IoA.
• All coursework should be uploaded to Turnitin by midnight on the day of the deadline.
This will date-stamp your work. It is essential to upload all parts of your work as this is
sometimes the version that will be marked.
• Instructions are given below.

Note that Turnitin uses the term ‘class’ for what we normally call a ‘course’.
1. Ensure that your essay or other item of coursework has been saved as a Word doc., docx. or
PDF document, and that you have the Class ID for the course (available from the course
handbook) and enrolment password (this is IoA1617 for all courses this session - note that

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this is capital letter I, lower case letter o, upper case A, followed by the current academic
year)
2. Click on http://www.turnitinuk.com/en_gb/login
3. Click on ‘Create account’
4. Select your category as ‘Student’
5. Create an account using your UCL email address. Note that you will be asked to specify a new
password for your account - do not use your UCL password or the enrolment password, but
invent one of your own (Turnitin will permanently associate this with your account, so you
will not have to change it every 6 months, unlike your UCL password). In addition, you
will be asked for a “Class ID” and a “Class enrolment password” (see point 1 above).
6. Once you have created an account you can just log in at
http://www.turnitinuk.com/en_gb/login and enrol for your other classes without going
through the new user process again. Simply click on ‘Enrol in a class’. Make sure you have
all the relevant “class IDs” at hand.
7. Click on the course to which you wish to submit your work.
8. Click on the correct assignment (e.g. Essay 1).
9. Double-check that you are in the correct course and assignment and then click ‘Submit’
10. Attach document as a “Single file upload”
11. Enter your name (the examiner will not be able to see this)
12. Fill in the “Submission title” field with the right details: It is essential that the first word
in the title is your examination candidate number (e.g. YGBR8 In what sense can
culture be said to evolve?),
13. Click “Upload”. When the upload is finished, you will be able to see a text-only version of
your submission.
14 Click on “Submit”
.
If you have problems, please email the IoA Turnitin Advisers on ioa-turnitin@ucl.ac.uk,
explaining the nature of the problem and the exact course and assignment involved.
One of the Turnitin Advisers will normally respond within 24 hours, Monday-Friday during
term. Please be sure to email the Turnitin Advisers if technical problems prevent you from
uploading work in time to meet a submission deadline - even if you do not obtain an
immediate response from one of the Advisers they will be able to notify the relevant Course
Coordinator that you had attempted to submit the work before the deadline

Word count for your final essay: 3,325-3,675 words


Your essay should be around 3,500 words long. With a maximum of 3,675 words
The following should not be included in the word-count: title page, contents pages, lists of figure and
tables, abstract, preface, acknowledgements, bibliography, lists of references, captions and contents of
tables and figures, appendices.
Penalties will only be imposed if you exceed the word limit. (There is NO penalty for using fewer
words, the lower figure in the range (3,325 words) is simply for your guidance to indicate the sort of
length that is expected.)
You must indicate word length (minus exclusions) on the cover sheet. Exceeding the maximum word-
length expressed for the essay will be penalized in accordance with UCL penalties for over-length work
(above).

The penalties for overlength work will be as follows:


• For work that exceeds the specified maximum length by less than 10% the mark will be reduced
by five percentage marks, but the penalised mark will not be reduced below the pass mark,
assuming the work merited a Pass.
• For work that exceeds the specified maximum length by 10% or more the mark will be reduced
by ten percentage marks, but the penalised mark will not be reduced below the pass mark,
assuming the work merited a Pass.

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READING LISTS
Part of this handbook includes an outline of each session in the course, and identifies one or more
essential readings and a few supplementary references relevant to each session. The essential readings
which should be consulted in advance of each session, which students will be expected to have done, to
be able fully to follow and actively to contribute to discussion. Information is provided as to where in
the UCL library system individual readings are available; their location and Teaching Collection (TC)
number, and status (whether out on loan) can also be accessed on the eUCLid computer catalogue
system. Copies of individual articles and chapters identified as essential reading are in the Teaching
Collection in the Institute Library and where possible essential readings to keep up with the topics
covered in the course have been made available on line.

INSTITUTE OF ARCHAELOGY COURSEWORK PROCEDURES


General policies and procedures concerning courses and coursework, including submission procedures,
assessment criteria, and general resources, are available in your Degree Handbook and on the following
website: http://wiki.ucl.ac.uk/display/archadmin. It is essential that you read and comply with these. Note
that some of the policies and procedures will be different depending on your status (e.g. undergraduate,
postgraduate taught, affiliate, graduate diploma, intercollegiate, interdepartmental). If in doubt, please
consult your course co-ordinator.

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GENERAL READING (Books, Collected Papers and Review Articles).
Arnold D. and J. Bourriau (eds.) 1993 An Introduction to Ancient Egyptian Pottery Deutsches
Archäologisches Institut Sondeschrift 17, Abteilung Kairo, Philipp von Zabern, Germany.
Arnold D. E. 1985 Ceramic theory and cultural process. New studies in Archaeology, Cambridge
University Press.
Barley N. 1994 Smashing Pots; feats of clay from Africa British Museum Press, London.
Berg, I. 2006 Breaking the mould : challenging the past through pottery: 3rd International Conference
on Prehistoric Ceramics Oxford: Archaeopress.
Bishop R. L. and F. W. Lange (eds.) 1991 The Ceramic Legacy of Anna O. Shepard University Press
of Colorado, Niwot
Freestone I. & D. Gaimster (eds.) 1997 Pottery in the Making: World Ceramic Traditions British
Museum Press, London.
Gibson A. and A. Woods 1990 Prehistoric Pottery for the Archaeologist Leicester University Press,
Leicester
Orton C., Hughes M. 2013 Pottery in Archaeology (2nd Edition) Cambridge University Press.
Peacock D. P. S. 1982 Pottery in the Roman world: an ethnoarchaeological approach. Longman,
London.
Quinn, P. S. 2013. Ceramic Petrography: The Interpretation of Archaeological Pottery & Related
Artefacts in Thin Section. Archaeopress, Oxford.Rice P. M. 2015 Pottery Analysis; A
sourcebook (2nd Edition) University of Chicago Press, Chicago.
Rye O. S. 1981 Pottery Technology; principles and reconstructions. Manuals on Archaeology no. 4
Washington D.C.
Scarcella S. 2011 Archaeological Ceramics: A Review of Current Research British Archaeological
Reports International Series S-2193, Oxford: Archaeopress
Shimada I. ed 2007 Craft production in complex societies : multicraft and producer perspectives Salt
Lake City: University of Utah Press
Simopoli C. 1991 Approaches to Archaeological Ceramics Plenum Press, New York
Skibo J. M. and G. M. Feinman (eds) 1999 Pottery and People: a dynamic interaction Salt Lake City:
The University of Utah Press.
Stark M. T. 2003 Current Issues in Ceramic Ethnoarchaeology Journal of Archaeological Research
11(3): 193-242
Tite M. S. 1999 Pottery Production, Distribution, and Consumption – the contribution of the physical
sciences Journal of Archaeological Method and Theory 6(3): 181-233.
Tyres P. 1996 Roman Pottery in Britain Batsford, London.
van der Leeuw S. E. and Pritchard A. C. (eds.) 1984 The Many Dimensions of Pottery; Ceramics in
archaeology and anthropology CINGULA 7. Amsterdam: Institute for Pre- and Proto-History,
University of Amsterdam.
Publications of the European Meeting on Ancient Ceramics
Some Useful Web sites:
Prehistoric Ceramic Research Group: http://www.pcrg.org.uk/
Medieval Pottery Research Group: http://www.medievalpottery.org.uk/
Roman Pottery Research and Atlas: http://potsherd.net/

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1 Introduction to the course, the ‘pottery cycle’
and the interpretation of archaeological assemblages
Introduction to the ‘pottery cycle’ from raw materials to the firing and use of the vessel. The ‘pottery
cycle’ is an organising principle for much of this course.

Practical: Researching a Pottery Assemblage


Dealing with archaeological assemblages, a consideration of the difficulties of recording and analysing
excavated pottery assemblages and how this may influence the questions that are addressed and how the
pottery is interpreted.

The Pottery Cycle


Roux, V. in press. Ceramic Manufacture: the Chaîne Opératoire Approach. In: Hunt, A. (ed.), Oxford
Handbook of Archaeological Ceramic Analysis, Oxford University Press. (to be published
November 2016) available through Academia.edu / researchgate
Rye O. S. 1981 Pottery Technology; principles and reconstructions. Manuals on Archaeology no. 4
Washington D.C.
van der Leeuw S. E. 1984. Dust to dust: a transformational view of the ceramic cycle. In S.E. van der
Leeuw and A. C. Pritchard (eds.) The many dimensions of pottery: ceramics in archaeology and
anthropology. Cingvla 7. Amsterdam: 707-773.

History of Pottery Studies:


Orton, C. and Hughes, M. 2013. History of Pottery Studies. In: Orton, C. and Hughes, M. Pottery in
Archaeology. Cambridge University Press: Chapter1.
Rice, P. M. 2015. Pottery and Its History. In: Rice, P. M. Pottery Analysis: A Sourcebook. Second
Edition University of Chicago Press: 3-32.

Further Reading:
Abbink A. A. 1999 Make it and break it: the cycles of pottery. A study of the technology, form, function
and use of pottery from the settlements at Uitgeest-Groot Dorregeest and Schagen-Muggenburg
Faculty of Archaeology, Leiden University
Atkin, J. 2004 Handbuilt Pottery Techniques Revealed New York: Barron’s
Gaimster, D. and Freestone, I. 1997. Introduction. In: Freestone, I. and Gaimster, D. (eds.) 1997
Pottery in the Making: World Ceramic Traditions British Museum Press, London: 9-19.
Gibson A. 2002 Prehistoric Pottery in Britain and Ireland Stroud, Gloucestershire: Tempus
Gibson A. and A. Woods 1990 Prehistoric Pottery for the Archaeologist Leicester University Press,
Leicester
Kempton W. 1981 The folk classification of ceramics: A study of cognitive prototypes. New York:
Academic Press.
Miller D. 1985 Artefacts as categories: A study of ceramic variability in central India. Cambridge
University Press.
Prehistoric Ceramics Research Group 1995 The study of later prehistoric pottery: general policies and
guidelines for analysis and publication. PCRG Occasional Papers 1 and 2.
Read D. 2007 Artefact Classification: a conceptual and methodological approach Left Coast Press
van der Leeuw S. E. 1991 Variation, Variability and Explanation in Pottery Studies in: W. A.
Longacre (ed.) Ceramic Ethnoarchaeology The University of Arizona Press, Tucson. pp.11-39.
Woodward A. and J. D. Hill (eds.) 2002 Prehistoric Britain: the ceramic basis Oxford : Oxbow

Further Reading in relation to the pottery used in the practical

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Rouillard S. E. 1987 The Iron Age Pottery from Meare Village East in Coles, J. (ed.) Meare Village
East: the excavations of A. Bulleid and H. St George Gray 1932-1956 Somerset Levels Papers
No 13: 183-221
Coles, J. And S. Minnit 1995 Industrious and Fairly Civilized: the Glastonbury Lake Village Somerset
Levels Project and Somerset County Council Museums Service, Somerset
Cunliffe B. 2005 Iron Age communities in Britain : an account of England, Scotland and Wales from
the seventh century BC until the Roman conquest London: Routledge
Cunliffe B. and C. Poole 1991 Danebury: An Iron Age Hillfort in Hampshire, Volume 5. The
excavations 1979-1988: the finds CBA Research Report 73
Gibson A. 2002 Prehistoric Pottery in Britain and Ireland Stroud, Gloucestershire: Tempus
Moore, T., 2007 Perceiving Communities: Eschange, Landscape and Social Networks in the Later Iron
Age of Western Britain Oxford Journal of Archaeology 26(1): 79-102
Orme B. J., J. M. Coles and C. R. Sturdy 1979 Meare Lake Village West: a report on recent work
Somerset Levels Papers 5: 6-17
Peacock D. P. S. 1968 A petrological Study of Certain Iron Age Pottery from Western England
Procedings of the Prehistoric Society 34, pp.414-427.
Prehistoric Ceramics Research Group 1995 The study of later prehistoric pottery: general policies and
guidelines for analysis and publication. PCRG Occasional Papers 1 and 2.
Woodward A. and J. D. Hill (eds.) 2002 Prehistoric Britain: the ceramic basis Oxford : Oxbow
Prehistoric Ceramics Research Group: http://www.prehistoric-ceramics.org.uk

Pottery from Meare Lake Village

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2 Preparing the paste: selection and preparation of clay & temper
The strength and appearance of a completed pot and the behaviour of the clay paste during production is
dependent on the raw materials selected by the potter and the way that they are processed. In this
lecture/seminar we will discuss the geological origins and physical properties of clay and inclusions, the
various methods that potters use to prepare and mix these materials, and how this alters the quality and
behaviour of the clay paste. In order to explain this we will need to discuss the clay/water system (i.e
how the properties of clays are dependent both on their crystal structure and the amount of water
between the clay crystals) and how the potter works with these natural phenomena.

Practical: handling clays and tempering materials


During the practical students will prepare a range of different pottery pastes using a variety of clays and
tempering materials so that they can feel how this alters the behaviour of the mixture.

Essential Reading:
Gosselain O. P. and A. Livinstone-Smith 2005 The Source: Clay selection and processing practices in
Sub-Saharan Africa in A. Livingstone Smith et al. (eds.) Pottery Manufacturing Processes:
Reconstruction and Interpretation, BAR International Series 1349: 33-47

Further Reading:
Barley N. 1994 Smashing Pots; feats of clay from Africa British Museum Press, London.
Colbeck, J. 1988 Pottery materials: their composition, preparation and use London: Batsford,
Gosselain O. P. 1999 In pots we trust: the processing of clay and symbols in Sub-Saharan Africa
Journal of Material Culture 4(2): 205-230
Grimshaw, R. W. 1971 The chemistry and physics of clays and allied ceramic materials New York:
Wiley-Interscience
Hamer, F. & J. 2004 The potter’s Dictionary of Materials and Techniques. (5th edition) London: A &
C Black
Pollard A. M. and C. Heron 1996, Archaeological chemistry, Cambridge: Royal Society of Chemistry.
Pages. 104 - 121
Pollard A. M. and C. Heron 2007 The Geochemistry of Clays and Provenance of Ceramics in: Pollard
A. M. and C. Heron Archaeological Chemistry The Royal Society of Chemistry, Cambridge
Chapter 4: 104-148.
Rice P.M. 2015, Pottery Analysis: a Sourcebook (2nd Edition) Chicago: Univ. of Chicago Press. Chapter
3
Sanacreu D. A. 2015 Materiality, Techniques and Society in Pottery Production: The Technological
Study of Archaeological Ceramics through Paste Analysis De Gruyter (available free as a
Kindle Edition)
Sillar B. 1996 The Dead and the Drying: Techniques for Transforming People and Things in the Andes
Journal of Material Culture 1(3) 259-290.
Smith A. L. 2000 Processing clay for pottery in Northern Cameroon: social and technical requirements
Archaeometry 42(1): 21-42
Velde, B 1992 Introduction to clay minerals : chemistry, origins, uses and environmental significance
London, Chapman & Hall
Woodward A. 2002 Inclusions, Impressions and Interpretations In A. Woodward and J. D. Hill (eds.)
Prehistoric Britain: the ceramic basis Oxford : Oxbow 106-118

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3 Pottery Forming Techniques: ethnographic and archaeological
examples
There are a wide range of potential pottery production methods (e.g. pinching, coiling, hammer and
anvil, moulding, or throwing). During this lecture we will explore a number of these methods, what
tools they require, and the implications for the organisation of production, and what evidence we can use
to interpret the use of these methods. We will again highlight the relationship between the clay paste
prepared by the potter and the choice of forming techniques.

Practical: techniques used in making and decorating pots


During the practical students will continue with the clay pastes that they prepared the week before to see
how suitable they are for different forming and decorating techniques.

Gosselain, O. P. 2000. Materializing Identities: An African Perspective. Journal of Archaeological


Method and Theory, 7: 187-217
van der Leeuw S. (ed.) 1993 Giving the potter a choice: conceptual aspects of pottery techniques in P.
Lemonnier (ed.) Technological Choices: transformation in material culture since the Neolithic
London: Routledge 238-288
Rye O.S. 1981, Pottery technology, Washington DC: Taraxacum. Especially Chapters 4-5

Further Reading:
Courty M. A. and V. Roux 1995 Identification of wheel throwing on the basis of ceramic surface
features and microfabrics Journal of Archaeological Science 22:17-50.
Fraser H. 2005 Ceramic Faults and Their Remedies (2nd Edition) A & C Black: London
Livingstone Smith A., D. Bosquet, R. Martineau 2005 Pottery manufacturing processes: reconstitution
and interpretation : International Congress of Prehistoric and Protohistoric
Sciences Oxford: Archaeopress, BAR international series 1349.
Loney H. L. 2000 Society and technological control: a critical review of models of technological
change in ceramic studies American Antiquity 65(4):646-668 + responses American Antiquity
66(4):726-41
Mahias M-C. (1993) 'Pottery Techniques in India: Technical variants and social choice' in: P.
Lemonnier (ed) Technological Choices: transformations in material cultures since the Neolithic,
pp.157-180. London: Routledge.
Nicholson, P. T. and Shaw, I. (eds.), 2000, Ancient Egyptian materials and technology, Cambridge Univ.
Press, Cambridge.
Rice P.M. 2015, Pottery Analysis: a sourcebook (2nd Edition) Chicago: Univ. of Chicago Press. Chapter
8
Sillar B. and M. Tite 2000 The challenge of ‘technological choices’ for material science approaches in
archaeology. Archaeometry 2-20.

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4 Pottery Firing Methods and Pottery Fabrics
In this seminar we will discuss some of the factors that may influence the choice of firing technique, the
degree to which these can be recognised using archaeological evidence and their effect on the fabric of
the pottery.
Gosselain O. P. 1992 Bonfire of the Enquiries. Pottery firing temperatures in archaeology: what for?
Journal of Archaeological Science 19(2):243-259
Livingstone-Smith, A. 2001 Bonfire II: The Return of Pottery Firing Temperatures. In Journal of
Archaeological Science 28: 991-1003.

Further Reading:
Adan-Bayewitz D. and M. Wieder 1992 Ceramics from Roman Galilee: A Comparison of Several
Techniques for Fabric Characterization Journal of Field Archaeology 19: 189—205
Heimann R. B. 1982 Firing Technologies and Their Possible Assessment by Modern Analytic Methods.
In: J. S. Olin and A. D. Franklin (ed.) Archaeological Ceramics Smithsonian Inst. Press,
Washington, D.C. pp.89-98
Johnson J. S., J. Clark, S. Miller-Antonio, D. Robins, M.B. Schiffer and J. M. Skibo 1988 Effects of
firing temperature on the fate of naturally occurring organic matter in clays Journal of
Archaeological Science 15: 403-414
Magetti M. 1982, “Phase analysis and its significance for technology and origin” in Franklin & Olin
(eds.), Archaeological Ceramics, Washington DC: Smithsonian Institution Press. pp.121-134
Mason, R. B. and Tite, M. S. 1997, The beginnings of the tin-opacification of pottery glazes,
Archaeometry, 39: 41-58.
Paynter S. and M. Tite 2001 The evolution of Glazing Technologies in the Ancient Near East and
Egypt in: A. J. Shortland (ed.) The Social Context of Technological Change: Egypt and the
Near East, 1650-1550 BC. Oxbow Books, Oxford.
Quinn, P. S. 2013. Ceramic Petrography: The Interpretation of Archaeological Pottery & Related
Artefacts in Thin Section. Archaeopress, Oxford.Rice P. M. (ed.) 1997 The prehistory & history
of ceramic kilns Westerville, Ohio: The American Ceramic Society
Rice P.M. 2015, Pottery Analysis: a sourcebook (2nd Edition) Chicago: Univ. of Chicago Press. Chapter
6 and 10
Rye O.S 1981, Pottery technology, Washington DC: Taraxacum. Chapter 6
Sillar B. 2000 ‘Dung by Preference: The choice of fuel as an example of how Andean pottery production
is embedded within wider technical, social and economic practices.’ Archaeometry 43-60.
Swan V. G. 1984 The Pottery Kilns of Roman Britain Royal Commission on Historical Monuments
Supplementary Series No 5.
Tite M. S. 1995 Firing temperature determinations – How and Why? In Lindahl A. and O. Stilbord
(eds.) The aim of laboratory analyses of ceramics in archaeology Konferenser 34, Kungl.
Vitterhets Historie och Antikvitets Akademien, Stockholm. 37-42
Tite, M. S., Freestone, I., Mason, R., Molera, J., Vendrell-Saz, M. and Wood, N. 1998 Lead glazes in
antiquity - methods of production and reasons for use. Archaeometry, 40: 241-260.
Tomber R. & J. Dore 1998 The National Roman Fabric Reference Collection Museum of London
Archaeology Service Monograph No. 2.

14
5 Organisation of production and craft specialisation
The organisation of pottery production, particularly the degree of craft specialisation, has been used by
several researchers as a method of assessing the social and economic organisation of past societies. In
this seminar we will discuss how the evidence for pottery making (e.g. the location, spatial organisation,
scale and intensity of production) can be interpreted from archaeological evidence.

Practical: recognition of pottery technology on ethnographic and


ancient pots
This practical will take a selection of pottery to discuss how we can identify pottery production
techniques from the form and surface appearance of ancient pots.

Essential Reading – please read at lest two of the following:


Crown P. L. 2007 Life histories of pots and potters: situating the individual in archaeology American
Antiquity 72(4) 677-690
Harry K. G. 2005 Ceramic specialization and agricultural marginality: Do ethnographic models explain
the development of specialized pottery production in the prehistoric American Southwest?
American Antiquity 70(2): 295-319
Frankel, D. and J. M. Webb 2014 A potter’s workshop from Middle Bronze Age Cyprus: new light on
production, scale and variability Antiquity 88(340): 425-440

Further Reading:
Arnold D. E. 1985 Ceramic theory and cultural process. New studies in Archaeology, Cambridge
University Press.
Arnold, D. E., 2008 Social change and the evolution of ceramic production and distribution in a Maya
community Boulder: University Press of Colorado
Barnett W. K. and J. W. Hoopes 1995 The Emergence of Pottery: Technology and Innovation in
Ancient Societies Smithsonian Institution Press, Washington.
Clark J. E. 1995 Craft specialization as an archaeological category Research in Economic
Anthropology 16: 267-294.
Costin C. L. 1991. Craft specialization: issues in defining, documenting, and explaining the
organization of production. In M. Schiffer (ed.) Archaeological method and theory 3: 1-56.
Costin, C. and Hagstrum, M. 1995 Standardization, labour investment, skill, and the organization of
ceramic production in late Prehispanic highland Peru. American Antiquity 60:619-39.
Day P. M. and E. E. Wilson and E. Kiriatzi 1997 Reassessing specialization in pre-palatial Cretan
ceramic production Aegaeum annales d'archéologie égéenne de l'Université de Liège.
Liège, Belgique : L'Université 16: 275-290
Franken H. J & Kalsbeek J. 1975 The potters of a medieval village in the Jordan Valley, North-
Holland Ceramic Studies in Archaeology No.3 Amsterdam.
Hagstrum M. B. 1985 Measuring Prehistoric Ceramic Craft Specialization: a Test Case in the American
Southwest Journal of Field Archaeology 12: 65-75
Hirth K. (Ed.) 2009 Housework: Craft production and domestic economy in ancient Mesoamerica –
Special Issue Archaeological Papers of the American Anthropological Association 19
Isbell W. H. 2007 A community of potters or multicrafting wives of polygynous lords? In: Craft
Production in Complex Societies: multicraft and producer perspectives ed. I. Shimada
University of Utah Press, Salt Lake City 68-96
Jordan P., and M. Zvelebil 2010 Ceramics before Farming: the Origins and Dispersal of Pottery among
Hunter-Gatherers of Northern Eurasia from 16 000 BP Walnut Creek: Left Coast Press
London G. A. 1986 Response to Melissa Hagstrum, ‘Measuring Prehistoric Ceramic Craft
Specialization: a Test Case in the American Southwest’ Journal of Field Archaeology 13: 510-1
15
McGovern P.E. (Ed.) 1989 Cross-craft and cross-cultural interactions in ceramics Westerville, OH:
American Ceramic Society
Peacock D. P. S. 1982 Pottery in the Roman world: an ethnoarchaeological approach. Longman,
London.
Phillips, David A. Jr. 2006 Comment on Harry's Discussion of Ceramic Specialization and Agricultural
Marginality in the Prehistoric U.S. Southwest American Antiquity 71(2): 397-398
Rautman M. 1998 Handmade Pottery and Social Change: the view from Late Roman Cyprus Journal
of Mediterranean Archaeology 11(1): 81-104
Rice P. M. 1991 Specialization, Standardization, and Diversity: a retrospective in: R. L. Bishop & F.
W. Lange (eds.) The Ceramic Legacy of Anna O. Shepard Colorado: University of Colorado
Press. 257-279.
Shimada I. ed 2007 Craft production in complex societies : multicraft and producer perspectives Salt
Lake City: University of Utah Press
Sillar B. 1997 Reputable pots and disreputable potters: individual and community choice in present-day
pottery production and exchange in the Andes. In: C. Cumberpatch and P. Blinkhorn (eds) Not
So Much a Pot, More a Way of Life Oxbow Monograph, Oxford. 1-20.
Underhill, Anne P. 2003 Investigating Variation in Organization of Ceramic Production: An
Ethnoarchaeological Study in Guizhou, China. Journal of Archaeological Method and
Theory 10(3):203-275.

16
6 Made for Export?
Identifying sources and interpreting distribution patterns
Pots are frequently traded, exchanged or transported away from their production sites. This is important
evidence from which we can interpret some aspects of socio-economic relationships in the past, ideally,
this requires the identification of the source of the raw materials (i.e. relating the pottery fabric to the
geological origin of the raw materials) or production sites (e.g. locating the kilns and piles of wasters at
the production centre). We can also prepare distribution patterns by recording the location and quantity
of specific pottery forms, styles or fabric types, but, the interpretation of these distribution patterns
should include a careful consideration of how this evidence was collected and what has affected the
intensity and reporting of previous archaeological work used in the study.

Practical: Further examples of pottery technology and discussion of


potential essay topics
Essential Reading:
Orton C., Hughes M. 2013 Pottery in Archaeology (2nd Edition) Cambridge University Press. Chapter
17.
Knappett, C., Kilikoglou, V., Steele, V. and B. Stern, 2005. ‘The circulation and consumption of Red
Lustrous Wheel-made ware: petrographic, chemical and residue analysis,’ Anatolian Studies 55,
25-59.
Jordan, P., Gibbs, K., Hommel, P., Piezonka, H., Silva, F., & Steele, J. (2016). Modelling the diffusion
of pottery technologies across Afro-Eurasia: Emerging insights and future research. Antiquity,
90(351), 590-603.

Further Reading:
Arnold D. E., H. Neff, and R. L. Bishop 1991 Compositional Analysis and ‘sources’ of pottery: an
ethnoarchaeological Approach American Anthropologist 93: 70-90
Connell S. V. 2002 Getting Closer to the Source: Using Ethnoarchaeology to Find Ancient Pottery
Making in the Naco Valley, Honduras Latin American Antiquity 13(4): 401-417.
Hodder I. 1974 Regression analysis of some trade and marketing patterns World Archaeology 6(2),
172-189.
Howard H. and Morris E., (eds.) 1981 Production and distribution: A ceramic viewpoint, B.A.R.
International series No.120, Oxford.
Lyne M. A. B. & R. S. Jefferies 1979 The Alice Holt/Farnham Roman Pottery Industry C.B.A.
Research Report No 30. London.
Morris E. L. and A. Woodward 2003 Ceramic Petrology and Prehistoric Pottery in the UK
Proceedings of the Prehistoric Society 69 279-303
Peacock D. P. S. & D. F. Williams 1986 Amphorae and the Roman economy; an introductory guide.
Longman, London.
Pool C. A. And G. J. Bey III 2007 Pottery economics in Mesoamerica Tucson: University of Arizona
Press
Rice P. M. 2015, Pottery Analysis: a sourcebook (2nd Edition) Chicago: Univ. of Chicago Press.
chapters 11
Tite M. S. 1999 Pottery Production, Distribution, and Consumption – the contribution of the physical
sciences Journal of Archaeological Method and Theory 6(3): 181-233.
Tomber R. & J. Dore 1998 The National Roman Fabric Reference Collection Museum of London
Archaeology Service Monograph No. 2.
Tyres P. 1996 Roman Pottery in Britain Batsford, London.
Wilson L. and Pollard A. M. 2001 The Provenance hypothesis in D. R. Brothwell and A. M. Pollard
(eds.) Handbook of Archaeological Sciences Chichester: Wiley and Sons Ltd. 508-517

17
7 Pottery Consumption: use, breakage and disposal
This session will consider the function of pottery and how we can analyse pottery use from the vessels
themselves (e.g. size, form, surface appearance, residue analysis) and wider archaeological evidence
(e.g. the context in which the vessels were recovered, iconographic evidence) We will discuss the
importance of studying pottery breakage and disposal patterns as an aid to interpreting the use of space
around the site, in relation to understanding the function and value of the pottery within consumption
sites, and to help understand taphonomic processes on site.

Practical: Pottery Assemblage: disposal habits, taphonomic processes and


dealing with fragmentation.
Essential Reading – please read at least two of the following:
Power, R., & Tristant, Y. (2016). From refuse to rebirth: Repositioning the pot burial in the Egyptian
archaeological record. Antiquity, 90(354): 1474-1488.
Frink, L. and K. G. Harry 2008 The beauty of ‘ugly’ Eskimo cooking pots American Antiquity 73(1):
103-20
Gordillo, I., & Vindrola-Padrós, B. (2017). Destruction and abandonment practices at La Rinconada,
Ambato Valley (Catamarca, Argentina). Antiquity, 91(355), 155-172.
Goulder J. 2010 Administrators' bread: an experiment-based re-assessment of the functional and
cultural role of the Uruk bevel-rim bowl Antiquity 84(324): 351-362

Further Reading:
Allison P. M. 2004 Pompeian Households: an analysis of their material culture Monograph 42
Cotsen Institute of Archaeology: University of California: Los Angeles
Arthur J. W. 2002 Pottery Use-alteration as an indicator of socioeconomic status: an
ethnoarchaeological study of the Gamo of Ethiopia Journal of Archaeological Method and
Theory 9(4) 331-355
Berg I. 2004 The meaning of standardisation: conical cups in the late Bronze Age Aegean Antiquity
78(299): 74
Biddulph, Edward 2005 Last Orders: choosing pottery for funerals in Roman Essex Oxford Journal of
Archaeology 24(1): 23-45
Bollong C. A. 1994 Analysis of Site Stratigraphy and Formation Processes Using Patterns of Pottery
Sherd Dispersion Journal of Field Archaeology 21 15-28
Brown D. 2005 Pottery and manners In: Consuming passions: dinning from antiquity to the eighteenth
century eds. M. Carroll, D. M. Hadley and H. Willmottt Stroud: Tempus publishing 87-100
Charters S., R. P. Evershed, L. J. Goad, A. Leyden, P. W. Blinkhorn, and V. Denham 1993
Quantification and distribution of lipid in archaeological ceramics: implications for sampling
potsherds for organic residue analysis and the classification of vessel use Archaeometry
35(2): 211-221.
Costin, C. and Earle, T. 1989 Status distinction and legitimation of power as reflected in changing
patterns of consumption in Late Prehispanic Peru. American Antiquity 54:691-714.
Craig, O.E., Shillito, L.-M., Albarella, U., Viner-Daniels, S., Chan, B., Cleal, R., Ixer, R., Jay, M.,
Marshall, P., Simmons, E., Wright, E. and Pearson, M.P. 2015 ‘Feeding Stonehenge: cuisine and
consumption at the Late Neolithic site of Durrington Walls’, Antiquity, 89(347): 1096–1109
Deal M. and M. B. Hagstrum 1995 Ceramic reuse behavior among the Maya and Wanka: Implications
for Archaeology in J.M. Skibo, W. H. Walker and A. E. Nielsen (eds.) Expanding Archaeology
Salt Lake City, University of Utah Press 111-125.
Fuller, D.Q. 2005 ‘Ceramics, seeds and culinary change in prehistoric India’, Antiquity, 79(306), pp.
761–777.
Frankel, D. and Webb, J. M. 2001 Population, Households and Ceramic Consumption in a Prehistoric
Cypriot Village. Journal of Field Archaeology, 28: 115-129.

18
Hayden B. & A. Cannon 1983 Where the garbage goes: Refuse disposal in the Maya highlands
Journal of Anthropological Archaeology vol.2. 117-163.
Heron C. and R. P. Evershed 1993 The analysis of organic residues and the study of pottery use in
Schiffer M. B. (ed.) Archaeological Method and Theory Vol. 5 Academic Press. New York
247-284.
Hill J. N. 1968 Broken K. Pueblo: Patterns of form and function in Binford L. R. and S. R. New
Perspective in Archaeolgy Aldine, Chicago p. 103-142.
Schiffer M. B. 1989 Formation Processes of Broken K Pueblo: Some Hypotheses. In: R. D. Leonard
and G. T. Jones (eds.) Quantifying Diversity in Archaeology. Cambridge University Press,
Cambridge. pp. 37-58
Skibo J. M. 2013 Understanding Pottery Function Springer, New York
Tite M. S., V. Kilikoglou and G. Vekinis 2001 Review Article: Strength, toughness and thermal shock
resistance of ancient ceramics, and their influence on technological choice. Archaeometry
43(3) 301-324. – see also the discussion of this article in Archaeometry 45: 163-183.
Wilkinson T. J. 1989 Extensive Sherd Scatters and Land-Use Intensity: Some Recent Results
Journal of Field Archaeology 16 (1989) 31—46

19
8 Pottery Decoration, Stylistic Analysis and explaining change
Practical: A consideration of how to style in ceramics

Essential Reading – please read at least two of the following:


Wengrow D. 2001 The evolution of simplicity: aesthetic labour and social change in the Neolithic Near
East World Archaeology 33(2): 168-188
Hegmon M. and S. Kulow 2005 Painting as agency, style as structure: innovations in Mimbres pottery
designs from southwest New Mexico Journal of Archaeological Method and Theory 12(4) 313-
334
Hardin M. A. and B. J. Mills 2000 The Social and Historical Context of Short-Term Stylistic
Replacement: A Zuni Case Study Journal of Archaeological Method and Theory 7(3): 139-163
De La Fuente, Guillermo A. 2011 Urns, Bowls and Ollas: pottery-making practices and technical
identity in the Southern Andes during the Late Period (ca. A.D. 900-A.D. 1450) Latin American
Antiquity 22(2): 224-52.

Further Reading:
Arnold D. E. 1983 Design Structure and Community Organisation in Quinua, Peru. In: D. Washburn
(ed.), Structure and Cognition in Art Cambridge University Press.
Braun D. P. 1991 Why Decorate a Pot? Midwestern household pottery, 200 B.C.-A.D.600 Journal of
Anthropological Archaeology 10: 360-397.
Canouts V. 1991 A formal approach to design: symmetry and beyond in: R. L. Bishop and F. W.
Lange The Ceramic Legacy of Anna O. Shepard University Press of Colorado, Niwot, pp.280-
320.
Carvajal López J. C. 2009 Pottery production and Islam in south-east Spain: a social model Antiquity
83: 388-98
Conkey M. & C. Hastorf 1990 The uses of style in archaeology Cambridge C.U.P.
David, N., J. Sterner & K. Gavua 1988 Why pots are decorated Current Anthropology 29:365-388.
de La Fuente G. A. 2011 Urns, Bowls and Ollas: Pottery-making practices and technical identity in the
Southern Andes during the Late Period (ca. AD 900- AD 1450) Catamarca, North-western
Argentine region, Argentina) Latin American Antiquity 22(2) pp. 224-252
DeBoer W. R. 1990 Interaction, imitation and communication as expressed in style: the Ucayali
experience in: M. Conkey and C. Hastorf (eds.) The Uses of Style in Archaeology Cambridge
Univerity Press pp.82-104.
DeBoer W. R. & J. A. Moore 1982 The measurement and meaning of stylistic diversity. In: Nawpa
Pacha Vol.20, p147-162.
Donnan C. B. 1975 The thematic approach to Moche iconography Journal of Latim American Lore
1(2) pp.147-162.
Graves M. W. 1998 The history of Method and Theory in the study of Prehistoric Puebloan pottery
style in the American Southewest Journal of Archaeological Method and Theory 5(4): 309-343.
Haour A., K. Manning, N. Arazi and O. Gosselain 2010 African Pottery Roulettes Past and Present:
Techniques, Identification and Distribution Oxbow, Oxford
Hardin M. A. 1984 Models of Decoration in: S. E. van der Leeuw and A. C. Pritchard (eds.) The
Many Dimensions of Pottery; Ceramics in archaeology and anthropology CINGULA 7.
University of Amsterdam. pp.573-613.
Hodder I. 1991 The Decoration of Containers: An Ethnographic and Historical Study in: W. A.
Longacre (ed.) Ceramic Ethnoarchaeology The University of Arizona Press pp.71-94.
Krause R. A. 2016 A Universal Theory of Pottery Production: Irving Rouse, Attributes, Modes, and
Ethnography The University of Alabama Press

20
Lepère, C. 2014. Experimental and Traceological Approach for a Technical Interpretation of Ceramic
Polished Surfaces. Journal of Archaeological Science, 46: 144-155.
Loney H. L. 2000 Society and technological control: a critical review of models of technological
change in ceramic studies American Antiquity 65(4):646-668 + responses American Antiquity
66(4):726-41
Nanoglou, St. 2008. Qualities of humanness; material aspects of Greek Neolithic anthropomorphic
imagery. Journal of Material Culture 13/3, 311–334.
Rice P.M. 2015, Pottery Analysis: a sourcebook (2nd Edition) Chicago: Univ. of Chicago Press. Chapter
9 and 24
Shanks M. 1992 Style and the design of a perfume jar from an archaic Greek city state Journal of
European Archaeology 1:77-106.
Skibo J. M., Schiffer M. B. & Kowalski N. 1989 Ceramic Style Analysis in Archaeology and
Ethnoarchaeolgy: Bridging the Analytical Gap Journal of Anthropological Archaeology 8:
388-409.
Stark, M. T. (ed.), 1998, The archaeology of social boundaries, Smithsonian Inst. Press, Washington,
DC.
Wylie A. 2002 The Typology Debate Thinking from Things: Essays in the Philosophy of Archaeology
University of California Press: Berkely

21
9 Dealing with Assemblages: the excavation, identification,
quantification and reporting of archaeological assemblages
The study of archaeological pottery starts at the point of excavation when important decisions are made
about what material to recover, what contextual information to record and the initial cleaning and sorting
of the pottery. Archaeological pottery is usually sorted through a series of stages, initially separating it
from other excavated materials, then sorting the pottery into different groups or categories. At what
stage is it necessary to consider the research questions that the pottery is being used to address and how
the pottery assemblages will be related to previous work in the area? In this lecture we will consider
how archaeological pottery is treated from the moment of excavation to its presentation in the finds
report and how this affects the types of data that are available for interpretation, including a
consideration of the use of illustrations, tables, graphs and other ways of summarising and presenting
data

Practical: Discussion of how to quantify and record pottery


assemblages
Essential Reading:
Aimers, J. J., 2007 The curse of the Ware: using ceramic systems in Belize in J. Morris, S. Jones, J.
Awe and C. Helmke (eds.) Research in Belizean Archaeology Vol 4
Allison, P. M., 1997 Why do excavation reports have finds’ catalogues? In: Not so much a pot, more a
way of life: current approaches to artefact analysis in archaeology C. G. Cumberpatch and P.
W. Blinkhorn 77-84 Monograph 83 Oxford: Oxbow
Further Reading:
Brooks A. and G. Connah 2007 A hierarchy of servitude: ceramics at Lake Innes Estate, New South
Wales Antiquity 81: 133-147
Barrett J. C. 1991 Bronze Age Pottery and Problems of Classification in J. Barrett, R. Bradley and M.
Hall (eds.) Papers on the Prehistoric Archaeology of Cranborne Chase Oxbow Monographs
No.11, Oxford pp.201-231.
English Heritage 2006 Management of Research Projects in the Historic Environment The MoRPHE
Project Managers’Guide https://historicengland.org.uk/images-books/publications/morphe-
project-managers-guide/
Gibson A. and A. Woods 1990 Prehistoric Pottery for the Archaeologist Leicester University Press,
Leicester
Hingley R. and S. Willis (eds.) 2005 Roman finds : context and theory : proceedings of a conference
held at the Univeristy of Durham Oxford: Oxbow Books
Institute of Field Archaeologists 2000. Standard and guidance for the collection, documentation,
conservation and research of archaeological materials.
Orton C., Hughes M. 2013 Pottery in Archaeology (2nd Edition) Cambridge University Press. Chapters
4, 6, 9, 14 and 15.
Prehistoric Ceramics Research Group 1995 The study of later prehistoric pottery: general policies and
guidelines for analysis and publication. PCRG Occasional Papers 1 and 2.
Rice P.M. 2015, Pottery Analysis: a sourcebook (2nd Edition) Chicago: Univ. of Chicago Press. Chap.
15
Symonds R. P. & S. Wade 1999 Roman pottery from excavations in Colchester, 1971-86 Colchester:
Colchester Archaeological Trust
Wheat J. B. 1991 Ceramic Classification: Bradfield and Shepard, Types and Varieties in: R. L. Bishop
and F. W. Lange The Ceramic Legacy of Anna O. Shepard University Press of Colorado,
Niwot, 121-131.
Whitbread, I. K. 1989.A proposal for the systematic description of thin-sections towards the study of
ancient ceramic technology. In: Maniatis, Y. (ed.) Archaeometry: Proceedings of the
25th International Symposium. Elsevier, Amsterdam: 127–138.

22
FOR FINAL CLASS:
Pick a pottery report describing an assemblage of pottery from a period or region that interests you
and prepare a critique to discuss during the last class of term. Some of the criterion you may wish to
consider when looking at finds reports are given on the next page.

Questions to consider when reviewing a ceramics reports


Choose a site report or a detailed report of an assemblage of pottery from a period and/or a region of
the world that you are interested in and review the role that the ceramic report has in relation to both
this particular site and the study of contemporary ceramics from the area.

What are the intentions of the report? Does the author explain these clearly? (e.g. what research
questions were they addressing? Are these mainly related to the production, distribution and use of the
pottery, or to the dating, function and cultural affiliation of the site?

How easy is it to identify which ceramics came from which archaeological contexts? Can you relate the
ceramics to other finds or other environmental data from the same context?

Is there any description of how the ceramics were excavated, cleaned and catalogued? Does the author
describe the methods of analysis used?

How are the ceramics described? (e.g. fabric descriptions, illustrations, quantification of data).

How is the pottery quantified? (e.g. by fabric, form, type or date, is this in relation to each context, or
broad periods.

What features of the ceramic are highlighted in the illustrations (e.g. do the drawings, photographs,
tables etc. emphasise fabric, form, surface treatment, decoration, or manufacturing technique?) What
percentage of the pottery is illustrated? Are these illustrations described as ‘typical’ or ‘exceptional’
pieces?

How is this ceramic report related to previous work on contemporary pottery? (e.g. by reference to
previous reports and pottery typologies or previous research questions.)

How easy would you find it to compare the illustrations and descriptions in this report to an assemblage
of pottery from another archaeological site?

Does the report explain where this ceramic assemblage is now? (In case you want to go back and do
your own analysis?)

How is this ceramic analysis used in the rest of the site report? Does it contribute to the research
agenda for the site as a whole?

23
10 Interpreting Pottery: Overview and Student Presentations
In this session we will re-visit issues that have emerged during the course with students either bringing
examples of pottery reports that they have looked at, examples of pottery they have started to analyse, or
examples that they are using in their essays to discuss research issues and strengths and limitations of
previous work.

International Pottery Research Conference !!


10.00 a.m. to 1.00 p.m.
11.30 a.m. refreshments

Each student should prepare a 5 minute presentation which briefly introduces the pottery assemblage,
report or examples which they have selected and then discuss how their review of this relates to one or
more of the issues raised by the course. This may be any aspect of the production technology,
iconography, distribution, use, disposal, excavation, curation, publishing or archiving of the pottery.
Students should use their own observation of the vessel or previous excavation reports to address these
issues, or suggest further analysis that could be undertaken. Alternatively students may present the case
study/question they have selected for their coursework assessment.

APPENDIX A: POLICIES AND PROCEDURES 2017-18 (PLEASE READ CAREFULLY)


This appendix provides a short précis of policies and procedures relating to courses. It is not a substitute
for the full documentation, with which all students should become familiar. For full information on
Institute policies and procedures, see the IoA Student Administration section of Moodle:
https://moodle.ucl.ac.uk/course/view.php?id=40867
For UCL policies and procedures, see the Academic Regulations and the UCL Academic Manual:
http://www.ucl.ac.uk/srs/academic-regulations ; http://www.ucl.ac.uk/academic-manual/

GENERAL MATTERS
ATTENDANCE: A minimum attendance of 70% is required. A register will be taken at each class. If you are
unable to attend a class, please notify the lecturer by email.
DYSLEXIA: If you have dyslexia or any other disability, please discuss with your lecturers whether there is any
way in which they can help you. Students with dyslexia should indicate it on each coursework cover sheet.

COURSEWORK
LATE SUBMISSION: Late submission will be penalized in accordance with current UCL regulations, unless
formal permission for late submission has been granted. Please note that these regulations have changed for
the 2016-17 session.
The UCL penalties are as follows:
• The marks for coursework received up to two working days after the published date and time will
incur a 10 percentage point deduction in marks (but no lower than the pass mark).
• The marks for coursework received more than two working days and up to five working days
after the published date and time will receive no more than the pass mark (40% for UG modules,
50% for PGT modules).

24
• Work submitted more than five working days after the published date and time, but before the
second week of the third term will receive a mark of zero but will be considered complete.

GRANTING OF EXTENSIONS: Please note that there are strict UCL-wide regulations with regard to the
granting of extensions for coursework. You are reminded that Course Coordinators are not permitted to grant
extensions. All requests for extensions must be submitted on a the appropriate UCL form, together with
supporting documentation, via Judy Medrington’s office and will then be referred on for consideration. Please be
aware that the grounds that are acceptable are limited. Those with long-term difficulties should contact UCL
Student Disability Services to make special arrangements. Please see the IoA website for further information.
Additional information is given here
http://www.ucl.ac.uk/srs/academic-manual/c4/extenuating-circumstances/

RETURN OF COURSEWORK AND RESUBMISSION: You should receive your marked


coursework within one month of the submission deadline. If you do not receive your work within this
period, or a written explanation, notify the Academic Administrator. When your marked essay is
returned to you, return it to the Course Co-ordinator within two weeks. You must retain a copy of all
coursework submitted.

CITING OF SOURCES and AVOIDING PLAGIARISM: Coursework must be expressed in your


own words, citing the exact source (author, date and page number; website address if applicable) of
any ideas, information, diagrams, etc., that are taken from the work of others. This applies to all media
(books, articles, websites, images, figures, etc.). Any direct quotations from the work of others must
be indicated as such by being placed between quotation marks. Plagiarism is a very serious
irregularity, which can carry heavy penalties. It is your responsibility to abide by requirements for
presentation, referencing and avoidance of plagiarism. Make sure you understand definitions of
plagiarism and the procedures and penalties as detailed in UCL regulations:
http://www.ucl.ac.uk/current-students/guidelines/plagiarism

RESOURCES
MOODLE: Please ensure you are signed up to the course on Moodle. For help with Moodle, please contact
Charlotte Frearson (c.frearson@ucl.ac.uk)

If students are unclear about the nature of an assignment, they should discuss this with the Course
Coordinator.

Students are not permitted to re-write and re-submit essays in order to try to improve their marks. The
nature of the assignments and possible approaches to the will be discussed in class, in advance of the
submission deadline. The Course Co-ordinator is willing to discuss a brief outline of the student's
approach to the assignment, provided this is planned suitably in advance of the submission date.

Health and safety


The Institute has a Health and Safety policy and code of practice which provides guidance on laboratory
work, etc. This is revised annually and the new edition will be issued in due course. All work
undertaken in the Institute is governed by these guidelines and students have a duty to be aware of them
and to adhere to them at all times. This is particularly important in the context of the
laboratory/field/placement work which will be undertaken as part of this course.

25
ASSESSMENT
The course is examined by means of a 3500 word Essay, and an Essay Plan. The prior submission of
your essay plan allows the course-coordinator to give you feedback and direction, and supports you in
developing research skills that will be applicable when it comes to your dissertation.

1) Essay Plan: Select one of the essay questions and prepare an essay plan consisting of:
a) 500 words discussion of how you will address the question, what case studies you will use and
what are the main points you want to make,
b) a one page essay outline with section headings (and if necessary short explanation of what you
will cover in each section)
c) a preliminary bibliography (this could be arranged in sections identifying general literature,
case studies, and analytical techniques).
2) The Essay – a 3500 word essay on your selected topic. (If this exceeds 3675 words there will be
penalties applied – see above)

You will be given feedback on your essay plan to support the development and presentation of your final
essay. You should attach your original essay plan with the course-coordinators comment to the back of
your final essay submission. However, only the mark given to the final essay will go forward to the
exam board so that you have the opportunity to benefit from and respond to the feedback on the essay
plan.

NOTE: Your essay will be assessed on the quality of the research, the breadth of reading, the depth of
analysis and its completeness. You should seek to demonstrate a good knowledge of relevant literature
and a critical consideration of the methodological and philosophical issues you have chosen to discuss.
Where a practical project has been undertaken, take care to describe the purpose of the research, the
methods used, the results of your analysis, the conclusions you have reached and, where appropriate,
discuss any wider implications arising from your study or further analysis that you feel should be
undertaken. Even if you focus on a regional case study, or a specific assemblage of pottery, make sure
you locate your study in relation to more general and theoretical literature. All written work should have
a clear structure and be concisely and unambiguously expressed in good English. Illustrations (such as
drawings, photographs, tables and charts) should be used where appropriate and frequently provide
essential examples and present data succinctly, but their relevance must be explained at an appropriate
point in the text. The topics chosen for each item of coursework should not overlap significantly
with the topics of other items of coursework on this or other courses.

The basic readings for these essays will be found in relation to the appropriate lecture or practical class
and the supplementary reading list provides further references organised around the similar themes to the
lectures and essay topics. If you have any problems identifying or locating appropriate reading material
please ask Bill Sillar for guidance.

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Essay Topics
1 Archaeologists often use pottery fabrics to classify ancient ceramics. Critically discuss examples
of this approach to consider its practical advantages and disadvantage as well as what research
questions it does or does not address.
2 Using examples from ceramic studies, critically discuss the degree to which ethnoarchaeologists
and archaeologists have been successful in identifying and explaining changes in ‘the
organisation of production’.
3 Discuss the degree to which the form and size of inclusions within a pottery fabric could be used
to assess how the temper and clay were prepared by the potter.
4 To what extent can the degree of standardisation in pottery production be measured, compared or
interpreted?
5 Models for the organisation of pottery production have largely been drawn from ethnographic
examples. To what extent can these be applied to the interpretation of archaeological evidence?
6 Discuss different methods used to determine the source(s) of pottery and map its distribution.
How would you begin to interpret which factors influenced this distribution pattern?
7 How successfully has the function of ancient pottery been studied?
8 How can archaeologists identify factors that influenced changes in pottery form and/or
decoration over time?
9 Select either a single pot or a small group of related pots and prepare an illustrated Chaîne
Opératoire that explains its/their production. Show which stages can be identified from material
evidence on the artefact and discuss which stages would require confirmation through further
analysis or more contextual information. What might be the advantages and disadvantages of
adopting this as an approach for analysing archaeological pottery? (Please consult with the
course coordinator if you wish to access material in the Institute of Archaeology collections.)
If you would like to write an essay on a different topic please discuss this with the course co-ordinator.

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TIMETABLE
Interpreting Pottery G112
Mondays 10.00 am - 12.00 noon + practicals till 4.00 p.m.

Room B13
2nd October. Course Outline: The pottery cycle (raw materials, forming, firing and use) and the
interpretation of archaeological assemblages.
Practical: Sorting an assemblage of Iron Age pottery sherds from Meare Lake Village.
9th October Preparing the paste: selection and preparation of clay and temper, the clay/water system.
Practical: working with different clays and tempering materials
16th October Pottery forming techniques: ethnographic and archaeological examples.
Practical: techniques used in making and decorating pots.
23rd October Pottery firing methods and pottery fabrics
Lecture and Seminar with Dr Patrick Quinn.
30th October Organisation of production: craft specialisation and standardisation
Practical: looking for signs of pottery technology on ethnographic and ancient pots.

Reading Week (6th to 10th November)

13th Nov. Made for Export? Identifying sources and interpreting distribution patterns
Practical: Archaeological examples of pottery technology
20th Nov. Pottery Consumption: use, breakage and disposal.
Practical: Pottery form, function and dealing with fragmentation.
22nd November - Deadline for Essay Proposals (returned with comments by 5th December)
27th Nov. Pottery decoration, stylistic analysis and explaining change
Practical: Ceramic decoration and style
4th December. Dealing with Assemblages: the excavation, identification and quantification of
archaeological assemblages
Practical: Discussion of how to quantify and record pottery assemblages
11th December Course Overview: Student presentations and discussion session

15th January 2013 – Deadline for Essay (this will be marked by 5th February)

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