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single find > pottery
PREFERRED TERM
pottery  
DEFINITION
  • One of the oldest of the decorative arts, consisting of objects made of clay and hardened with heat. The objects are commonly useful. Earthenware is the oldest and simplest form of pottery; stoneware is a pottery compound that is fired at a sufficiently high temperature to cause it to vitrify and become extremely hard; and porcelain, finer than stoneware and generally translucent, is made by adding feldspar to kaolin and then firing at a high temperature. Its raw material is common, shaping and baking it are simple, and it can be given an infinite variety of forms and decorations. Pottery sherds, almost indestructible, are one of the commonest finds and are very important to archaeologists. It is often one of the clearest indicators of cultural differences, relations, and developments, and its techniques of manufacture can be comparatively easily recovered by ceramic analysis. It can be shown whether it was modeled, coil built, or wheel made. The nature of its fabric, ware, or body can be identified, as can any surface treatment such as slip, paint, or burnish. The wide range of methods of decoration can also be studied. As the date of manufacture can usually be fixed, pieces of pottery give clues to archaeologists as to the date of other finds at the site. Petrological analysis of inclusions has been used to trace the source of pot clays and thus reconstruct ancient trade in pottery. Archaeologists usually call fired pot clay the "fabric" of a piece of pottery. Texture, mineralogy, and color of fabric may be used to describe and classify pottery.
BROADER CONCEPT
SOURCE
  • Kupfer, B. A. (2000). Encyclopedic Dictionary of Archaeology. Springer, p. 452.
BELONGS TO GROUP
IN OTHER LANGUAGES

Croatian

German

Hungarian

agyagedény

Slovenian

keramika
URI
https://vocabs.acdh.oeaw.ac.at/iadthesaurus/scheme/concept349
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