Pottery Analysis

A Sourcebook

Prudence M. Rice

Pottery Analysis
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Prudence M. Rice

584 pages | 45 halftones, 100 line drawings | 7 x 10 | © 1987
Paper $45.00 ISBN: 9780226711164 Published February 2006
Pottery Analysis is a rich and comprehensive sourcebook that draws together diverse approaches to the study of pottery—archaeological, ethnographic, stylistic, functional, and physicochemical. Using pottery as a starting point for insights into people and culture, Prudence M. Rice examines in detail the methods for studying the fired clay vessels used worldwide from prehistoric times to present.
Dean E. Arnold | Antiquity
“An important book which every archaeologist interested in ceramics will consult as a reference again and again.”
Claude Lévi-Strauss | L’Homme

“This review does little justice to the richness of the Pottery Analysis and the considerable erudition of the author, demonstrated by her sixty-page bibliography. Professor Rice has complete mastery of her subject; and if she has conceived the book from an anthropological perspective, it is also true, as she herself emphasizes, that ceramic engineers, chemists, physicists, and geologists will find it useful as well. . . . One can find the answer to any question with the help of its glossery and detailed index. This magisterial work represents the cutting edge of research and provides a guide to the best sources.”

Roberta Tomber | Journal of Roman Archaeology

“The overall value of Rice’s work as a textbook has already been established.”

William D. Glanzman | Archeomaterials

“An indispensable explanatory source book for all students of ceramics, especially archaeologists and anthropologists. . . . It breaks new ground. New in the sense that no other ceramicist has attempted such a compilation and blend of technological and social aspects in ceramic studies, both ancient and modern. New also in the emphasis on building a framework for understanding pottery vessels, from the raw materials to the use of the fired products in a particular social milieu. . . . For this reviewer, Rice’s presentation of the complex tapestry of factors affecting the potter’s choice of raw materials and how they may be manipulated is one of the most important features of the book.”

Charles C. Kolb | American Scientist

“Although it is of special interest to archaeologists, Rice’s compendium is also directed toward a wider audience, including social, physical, and materials scientists. Her broad work provides both an introduction to the topic and an exceedingly valuable asset to the most advanced researcher. . . . The superb 262-item glossary, 1,003 references, and 16-page detailed index are especially useful. Rice’s excellent volume is a true sourcebook and will serve as the standard for many years to come.”

Vincas P. Steponaitis | American Anthropologist

“Rice has produced a magnificent synthesis that belongs on every archeologist’s shelf. It is also an excellent textbook for students. I would not be surprised if, 30 years from now, it still holds its ground as the principal reference work on pottery.”

Ralph Hawkins | Near East Archaeological Society Bulletin
"Pottery Analysis may be the most up-to-date synthesis of current research on pottery as a broader field and, as such, continues to be cited in new pottery studies. . . . Many archaeologists will certainly want to have access to Price's book for its extensive treatment of both technical and anthropological issues related to pottery."
Contents
List of Figures
List of Tables
Preface
 
Part 1 - Introduction
1. Pottery and Its History
1.1. Pottery and Ceramics: Definitions and Products
1.2. History of Pottery and Ceramics
1.2.1. Pottery and Ceramics in the Old World
1.2.1.1. The Near East
1.2.1.2. The Far East
1.2.1.3. Europe and the Mediterranean
1.2.2. Pottery in the New World
1.3. Overview of Pottery Studies
1.4. References

Part 2 - The Raw Materials of Pottery Making
2. Clays: Their Origin and Definitions
2.1. Earth Materials
2.2. Feldspars, Weathering, and Clay Origins
2.3. Definitions of Clays
2.3.1. Depositional Situation of Clays
2.3.2. Granulometry of Clays
2.3.3. Chemical Definitions of Clays
2.3.4. Mineralogical Definitions of Clays
2.3.4.1. Phyllosilicates
2.3.4.2. Lath-Structure Clays
2.3.5. Commercial Uses of Clays
2.4. Functional Definitions of Clays
2.5. References

3. Properties of Clays I: The Clay/Water System
3.1. The Clay/Water System
3.2. Plasticity
3.2.1. Factors Influencing Plasticity
3.2.2. Measuring Plasticity
3.3. Drying and Shrinkage
3.3.1. Water in the System
3.3.2. Processes of Drying and Shrinkage
3.3.3. Drying Defects and Green Strength
3.3.4. Measuring Shrinkage
3.4. Inclusions and Impurities
3.4.1. Coarse Inclusions
3.4.2. Colloids, Ions, and Organics
3.5. References

4. Properties of Clays II: Firing Behavior
4.1. Variables of Firing
4.2. Physical and Chemical Changes in Firing
4.2.1. Loss of Volatiles
4.2.2. Changes in the Clay Minerals
4.2.3. Changes in Inclusions and Impurities
4.2.3.1. Quartz
4.2.3.2. Feldspar
4.2.3.3. Calcium
4.2.4. Glaze Formation
4.3. Summary
4.3.1. The Thermal Reaction Sequence
4.3.2. The Fired Product: Stresses and Defects
4.3.3. Some Considerations of Firing Technology
4.4. References

Part 3 - Pottery Manufacture and Use
5. Pottery Manufacturing Technology: An Ethnographic Overview
5.1. Ethnographic Pottery Studies
5.2. Obtaining and Preparing Resources
5.2.1. Tools and Techniques
5.2.2. Ethnographic Examples
5.3. Forming, Finishing, and Decorating
5.3.1. Forming: Tools and Techniques
5.3.1.1. Hand Building and Molding
5.3.1.2. Throwing
5.3.1.3. Supports and Rotational Devices
5.3.2. Finishing: Tools and Techniques
5.3.3. Forming and Finishing: Ethnographic Examples
5.3.4. Surface Enhancement
5.3.4.1. Surface Penetration or Displacement
5.3.4.2. Additions to the Surface
5.4. Drying and Firing
5.4.1. Tools and Techniques
5.4.1.1. Nonkiln Firing
5.4.1.2. Kiln Firing
5.4.1.3. Postfiring Treatments
5.4.2. Ethnographic Examples
5.5. References

6. Pottery Economics: Perspectives on Production and Distribution
6.1. Anthropology and Commodity Production
6.1.1. Economic Anthropological Literature
6.1.2. Concepts in the Study of Production
6.1.3. Ethnographic Overview: A Focus on Firing
6.1.3.1. Firing Loss Rates
6.1.3.2. Fuel Costs
6.2. Issues in the Study of Pottery Production
6.2.1. Location of Production
6.2.2. Organization of Production
6.2.2.1. Scale of Production
6.2.2.2. Mode of Production
6.2.3. Models of Production and Specialization
6.3. Distribution and Exchange
6.3.1. Ethnographic Overview
6.3.2. Archaeological Approaches and Models of Distribution
6.4. Variability in Ceramic Products
6.5. Summary and Conclusions
6.6. References

7. Vessel Function: Form, Technology, and Use
7.1. Vessel Function
7.1.1. Kinds of Vessel Functions
7.1.2. Determining Vessel Function
7.2. Vessel Form: Relating Form and Function
7.2.1. Anatomy of a Vessel
7.2.2. Description of Form
7.2.2.1. Inferred Use Classifications
7.2.2.2. Vessel Contour Classifications
7.2.2.3. Geometric or Volume Classifications
7.2.3. Reconstructing Form from Sherds
7.2.4. Use-Related Properties: Capacity, Stability, Accessibility, and Transportability
7.3. Composition and Properties: Relating Technology to Use
7.3.1. Thickness
7.3.2. Resistance to Mechanical Stress
7.3.3. Thermal Behavior
7.3.4. Permeability/Porosity/Density
7.3.5. Surface Treatment
7.4. Direct Evidence of Use
7.4.1. Identification of Contents
7.4.2. Use Wear
7.4.3. Fireclouding and Sooting
7.5. Summary: Form, Technology, and Use
7.5.1. Vessel Functions
7.5.2. Vessel Forms
7.6. References

8. Pottery Decorative Styles and Stylistic Analysis
8.1. What Is Style?
8.1.1. Origins of Styles
8.1.2. Terminology of Styles
8.1.3. Analysis and Interpretation of Decorative Styles in Pottery
8.2. Design Elements and Interaction
8.2.1. Critiques of the Interaction Theory
8.2.2. Critiques of the Element Analysis Method
8.3. Alternative Approaches to Style
8.3.1. Symmetry Analysis
8.3.2. Design Structure Analysis
8.3.3. Information, Diversity, and Symbols
8.4. Summary: Additional Considerations and Problems
8.4.1. Problems of Method
8.4.2. Problems of Interpretation
8.5. References

9. Special Topics in Archaeological, Ethnoarchaeological, and Ethnographic Pottery Studies
9.1. Pottery Classification
9.1.1. Devised Classifications
9.1.2. Folk Classifications
9.1.3. Issues in Archaeological Pottery Classification
9.1.3.1. Descriptive and Chronological Systematics
9.1.3.2. Are Types "Real" or "Artificial"?
9.1.3.3. Statistical Approaches to Classifications
9.1.3.4. What Is the Purpose of Classification?
9.1.3.5. Summary
9.2. Pottery Quantification
9.2.1. Sampling
9.2.2. Counts, Weights, and Vessel Equivalents
9.3. Assemblage Composition and Site Formation Processes
9.3.1. Ceramic Assemblages
9.3.1.1. Ethnographic Ceramic Censuses
9.3.1.2. Archaeological Approaches to Assemblages
9.3.2. Site Formation Processes
9.4. References

Part 4 - Characterization Studies of Pottery
10. Ceramic Characterization: An Introduction
10.1. Characterization
10.2. Technological Ceramic Studies
10.2.1. Historical Background
10.2.2. Technological Properties
10.2.3. Ceramic Ecology
10.3. Research Design Considerations
10.3.1. Identifying Problems
10.3.2. Selecting a Sample
10.3.2.1. Sampling Resources
10.3.2.2. Sampling Sherd Collections
10.3.2.3. Sampling for Analysis 10.3.3. Selecting Methods of Analysis
10.4. Interpreting Technological and Characterization Studies
10.5. References

11. The Color of Ceramic Materials
11.1. Human Perception of Color
11.2. Source of the Property and Its Variability
11.2.1. Organic Matter
11.2.2. Iron Compounds
11.2.3. Other Colorants
11.2.4. Glaze Colorants
11.3. Measuring Color
11.4. Estimating Firing Conditions from Color
11.5. References

12. Physical, Mechanical, and Thermal Properties of Pottery
12.1. Microstructure
12.2. Porosity
12.3. Hardness and Strength
12.3.1. Hardness
12.3.2. Strength
12.4. Thermal Properties and Stresses
12.4.1. Thermal Properties
12.4.2. Factors Influencing Thermal Stress Resistance
12.4.2.1. Intrinsic Properties
12.4.2.2. Temperature
12.4.2.3. Microstructure
12.4.2.4. Shape and Design
12.5. References

13. Mineralogical and Chemical Characterization of Pottery
13.1. Objectives and Sampling: Additional Considerations
13.2. Mineralogical Analysis
13.2.1. Petrographic Characterization
13.2.1.1. Some Principles of Optical Crystallography
13.2.1.2. The Polarizing Microscope
13.2.1.3. Petrographic Methods
13.2.2. X-Ray Diffraction
13.2.3. Thermal Analysis
13.2.4. Other Methods of Mineral Identif
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