CERAMIC STUDIES


BENNETT, W.J. Jr. and BLAKELY, Jeffrey A.

Bennett, W.J. Jr. and Blakely, J.A. 1989. Morphology, Composition and Stratigraphy: A Data-Base Concept for Ceramic Study and Publication. In: and J.A. Blakely and W.J. Bennett, Jr Analysis and Publication of Ceramics. The Computer Data-Base in Archaeology. BAR International Series 551. Oxford. 1-18.

Paper to start a debate about the possible publication of ceramic material in databases (Now ofcourse made obsolete by the internet). They give an introduction to the reasons of ceramic studies (p3):
1. determination of a chronological sequence to date stratigraphic contexts
2. determination of the location of manufacture and examine exchange networks
3. investigating ancient technology
4. link size and shape of vessels to content and function
Primary goal (p.8) of archaeology is to give insight to one or more of the many facets of human past life. To use ceramics for this goal we need to know when they were made, where they were made, how they were made, why they were made, how they were used. To anwser these questions we must establish a database order according to three main axes:
FINDSPOT - FORM - FABRIC
Manipulation of the data along these axes allow studying them.
See as well the critics of James F. Strange.

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DARK, Ken

Dark, K. 2001. Byzantine Pottery. Stroud.

Book handling Byzantine Pottery as a whole, exploring the material in general. It is very well structured: first handling the coarse wares for early - middle - late Byzantine periods and then focussing on the fine wares for those three periods. It is a good reference book for the uninitiated. The book itself concentrates in the first place on the differences between the production centers and economic relations. Almost nothing is said about vessel typologies and vessel functions.

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DEGRYSE, Patrick

Degryse, P., J. Poblome, O. Bounegru and W. Viaene. 2001. Archaeometry of Eastern Sigilata C from Pergamon: a reconnaissance study. In: Rei Cretariae Romanae Fautorum Acta 37. 115-117.

Discussion of the results from archaeometrical analysis of a set of samples of late Hellenistic and early imperial Pergamene tableware or Eastern Sigilata C from the vally of the Ketios river immediately to the east of Pergamon.

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EGLOFF, B.J.

Egloff B.J. 1973. A Method for Counting Ceramic Rim Sherds. In: American Antiquity 38. 351-353.

Short article presenting the method of counting rim sherds by using the percentage of a vessel's orifice. A figure is incorporated to measure the orifice radius of a rim and to calculate the percentage factor.


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FREESTONE, Ian and GAIMSTER, David

Freestone, I. and D. Gaimster ed. 1997. Pottery in the Making: Ceramic Traditions. Washington D.C.

An example of a typical museum's catalogue of pottery dominated by the irritating shadow of chrono-typology. The book has 32 chapters intending to highlight the pottery collection of seven Antiquities Departments of the Brittish Museum. According to the editors the idea was to focus on production to illustrate the diversity of pottery traditions. In stead the book became a compilation of object-centered essays without any link to their human makers. This is a typical example of what Allison (1997) indicated as a useless catalogue.

Review of Olivier P. Gosselain. 1999. AJA 103. 382-384. (map 1)

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HILGERS, Werner

Hilgers, W. 1966. Lateinische Gefässnamen: Bezeichnungen, Funktion und Form römischer Gefässe nach den antiken Schriftquellen. Beihefte der Bonner Jahrbücher 31. Düsseldorf.

Compilation containing all references of greek and roman authors to vessel form and vessel function. Although it remains difficult to the references with the material evidence, the book provides a good overview wherefor pottery and metal vessels were used.

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MAGUIRE, Henry

Maguire, H. 1997. Materials Analysis of Byzantine Pottery. Washinton D.C.

This volume is comprised of papers combining the study of Byzantine Pottery and the discipline of archaeometry. Many sophisticated methods of materials analysis are brought to bear on several categories of Byzantine pottery. Maguire argues that the scientific approach to the study of ceramics should have "important implications, going well beyond the study of the material itself," allowing to adress "broader historical issues". The authors, however, rarely make clear the meaning and importance of their archaeometrical research. Furthermore, there is little coherence between the the different papers, making the whole more like a sommation of diffent chemical test and rather unusefull for non-specialists.

Review by Michael L. Galatay. 1999. AJA 103. 388. (map 2)

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MILLS, Barbara J.

Mills, B.J. 1989. Integrating functional analyses of vessels and sherds through models of ceramic assemblage formation. In: World Archaeology 21. 133-147.

This article presents a model of ceramic assemblage formation, outlining the correspondence between the two major variables uselife of the vessels and duration of the occupation of the site. Ethnographical data are used as input parameters to model assemblage formation through time and the effects of the different variables on the content of the deposits. The article, however, adds little to the work of Schiffer.

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PITTS, Martin

Pitts, M. 2005. Pots and pits: drinking and deposition in Late Iron Age south-east Britain. In: Oxford Journal of Archaeology 24. 143-161.

This paper studies the role of pottery in the Late Iron Age to Roman transition in south-east Britain. Traditional concern with the significance of continental imports is rejected in favour of an approach considering the composition of complete assemblages with an equal emphasis to locally made forms and imports in complete assemblages. To do so, several stages of inter-site correspondence analysis are conducted on a range of sites and assemblages in the region. The main conclusions include evidence for the selective disposal of drinking vessels, the widespread consumption of beer as opposed to wine and the implied importance of indigenous social practices such as feasting and communal drinking. The paper, however, is especially interesting for its methodology which examins patterns in the functional composition of the ceramic assemblage using the statistical technique of correspondence analysis.


Pitts, M. 2004. Regional identities and the social use of ceramics. In: J. Bruhn, B. Croxford and D. Grigoropoulos (ed) TRAC 2004. Proceedings of the Fourteenth Annual Theoretical Roman Archaeology Conferece, University of Durham, 26-27 March 2004. Oxford: Oxbow. 50-64.

This paper examines regional variation in cultural identities by a similar notion of interrogating the functional components of ceramic assemblages. The approach combines aspects on previous research on the functional aspects of ceramic assemblages , the use of correspondence analysis and the role of pottery in social practice and the negotiation of identity. Especially interesting for the subdivision of ceramics in functional cetagories (pp. 50-51), combining material of different sites and different measures of quantification (pp.52-53), the use of correspondence analysis and the interpretation of CA-plots. The general presentation of the material is very attractive as well.

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PEACOCK, D.P.S.

Peacock, D.P.S. and D.F. Williams. 1986. Amphorae and the Roman economy: an introductory guide. London: Longman.

The title already explains the content of the book. It is composed of two parts: first a general review of Roman amphora studies, second a guide to the identification of the more common Roman amphorae. Especially useful is the description of the in Sagalassos frequently occuring Late Roman 1 amphora (class 44 p. 185-187) and Late Roman 4 (class 49 p. 198-199).

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ORTON, Clive Robert

Orton, C. 1993. How many pots make five? - An historical review of pottery quantification. In: Archaeometry 35. 169-184.

Overview of meassures for the quantification of pottery in the present and the past, defending the superiority of EVE's and PIE's. Especially interesting as an ovierview of possibilities and bibliography (bit dated!). For the real techniques there is too little information. Orton rightly stresses the fact that the count of the ceramics in a layer/room should be taken as a representative sample of the population of that room, depending on the reliability of the context. However the count is not representative for the population of the ceramics of the site/region ! This means that the assemblages of different rooms can be compared between each other contrary to assemblages of different sites. Compairing assemblages means determining wether they differ statistically significant in composition, which means that they originate from different parent assemblages (177). Because the parent population is expressed in vessels, the samples should be quantified in the same way. There are different possibilities (p 179): (1) counting which assumes that all pots have the same breakage (2) weighing which assumes that all pots have the same weight (3) Vessels represented which assumes that all pots from the same type break in an equal amount of sherds and (4) EVE which requires no shuch assumptions. Orton stresses however that there is no single best method to calculate the EVE (based on rim, weight, ...) and that different types might requiredifferent estimators. It is important to consider which population the sample represents before comparing proportions in samples !


Orton, C., P. Tyers and A. Vince. 1993. Pottery in Archaeology. Cambridge.

Overview of all aspects of pottery studies, starting from its history over the potential of pottery as archaeological evidence till practicalities in processing and recording. Next to detailing routine, but essensial handling of pottery, the book examines recent research into quantitative study and comparison of assemblages, applied for chronology, production and distibution, finally vessel function and differences in composition between assemblages.


Orton, C.R. and P.A. Tyers. 1991. Counting Broken Objects: The Statistics of Ceramic Assemblages. In: A.M. Pollard (ed) New Developments in Archaeological Science. Proceedings of the British Academy 77. Oxford. 163-184.

To estimate and compare the proportions of different types of pottery in ceramic assemblages, archaeologists need a measure of the amount of each type. Following examples are given: chronological questions, spatial questions (trade), social/functional questions (context analysis!). On all but the smallest sites, different parts of a site may have been used for different purposes. This may be reflected in the usage of different types of pottery. On a wider scale social differences within the town (or the house?) might be reflected in differences between assemblages from different parts of the town. There has been surprisingly little work of this nature! (p165). The most suitable meassure for ceramics is the EVE (Estimated Vessel Equivalent), for which each measurable fragment is scored as a fraction of a complete vessel. In the article the "pie"-slice (Pottery Information Equivalent) project is presented, which is a new statistical approach which enables assemblages to be compared by thechniques for categorical data.


Orton, C.R. and P.A. Tyers. 1990. Statistical Analysis of Ceramic Assemblages. In: Archeologia e Calcolatori 1. 81-110.

Article showing the implications for the way in which pottery is catalogued, depending on the sort of interpretation of the data (chronological - distributional - functional).

Orton, C. 1989. An introduction to the quantification of assemblages of pottery. In: Journal of Roman Pottery Studies 2. 94-97.

Article comparing measures of the quantity of pottery (count - weight - evrep - eve) to test wether or not they are biassed and/or (in)variant (i.e. wether the bais remains the same under different conditions). Useful when deciding which quantification method to use.


Orton, C. 1982. Computer simulation experiments to asses the performance of measures of quantity of pottery. In: World Archaeology 14. 1-20.

Various measures for quantifying pottery are available, each with their pros and cons. In this article, Orton uses two models for breakage and retrieval of pottery in order to asses the performance of four measures of quantity - sherd count, weight, vessels represented and vessel-equivalents - under a wide variety of conditions, using computer simulation. Initial results show that only 'vessel-equivalents' is unbiassed under a range of condition.


Orton, C. 1975. Quantitative Pottery Studies. Some Progress, Problems and Prospects. In: Science and Archaeology 16. 30-35.

Four common measures for the quantification of ceramics (count - weight - evrep - eve) are examined in the light of the need to estimate the relative proportions of different types of pottery present in a context and to compare the proportions in one context with those in an other. Their advantages and disadvantages are discussed, leading to a grading of their usefulness.


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PROTOCOLE BEUVRAY

Protocole Beuvray. 1998. Protocole de quantification des céramiques. In: P. Arcelin and M. Tuffreau-Libre (eds) La quantification des céramiques. Conditions et protocole. Glux-en-Glenne. I-XVII.

French protocole for the determination of the minimum number of individuals of a ceramique assemblage.

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RICE, Prudence M.

Rice, P.M. 1987. Pottery Analysis: a Sourcebook. Chicago.

All aspects of pottery studies. Especially intresting is the part about the connection between vessel function and its form (p207-242) and an overview of quantification methods used (p288-292).

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SLANE, Kathleen Warner

Slane, K.W. 2003. Corinth's Roman Pottery. Quantification and Meaning. In: In: C.K. Williams and N. Bookidis (eds) Corinth: the centenary, 1896-1996. Corinth 20. Athens.

Gives some statistics of the Roman pottery found in Corinth and illustrates the usefulness of quantified pottery data. Kathleen Slane Warner uses raw counts and wheight of RBHS (rims, bases, handles and body sherds) in her analyses.


Slane, K.W. 1987. Roman Pottery from East of the Theater: Quantifying the Assemblages In: AJA 91. 483-485.

Introduction the the methods used at Corinth for the quantification of the ceramics and possibilities for their use. Not a very informative article.

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SPARKES, Brian A. and TALCOTT, Lucy

Sparkes B.A. and L. Talcott L. 1970. Black and Plain Pottery of the 6th, 5th, and 4th Centuries B.C. The Athenian Agora XII. Princeton, N.J.: The American School at Athens.

Work on the archaeic and classic ceramics from the Athenian Agora. Especially interesting for references to "lekaneis": a small container used as a formal mixing bowl for wine as well as for all sorts of domestic purposes (pp 211).

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STRANGE, James F.

Strange, J.F. 1989. Beyond Socio-Economics: Some Reactions to "Morphology, Composition and Stratigraphy". In: J.A. Blakely and W.J. Bennett, Jr. (ed) Analysis and Publication of Ceramics. The Computer Data-Base in Archaeology. BAR International Series 551. Oxford. 23-30.

Some critique on Bennett W.J. jr and Blakely J.A.. He especially critisises firstly the fact that they place the costruction of a database before analysis, while analysis is necessary to create a database and secondly that they don't look further than ceramic studies alone. Stranges pleas for correlation in tame and space of all objects, i.e. to investigate other artefactual materials in the same depositional units as well (p28). He sees following steps in analysis (p28-29):
1. Description of every sherd in terms of time, space, morphology and depositional unit.
2. Organization of the ceramics by classes, cathegories, types.
3. Determination and description of the spatial and temporal distribution of the classes and types at the site.
4. Determination and description of the spatial and temporal distribution of the classes and types of the other artefacts.
5. Apply deductive techniques to the network of contrasts and correlations to attempt to infer technology, social structures, norms, beliefs,...
6. Examine the written evidence.
7. Correlate historical and cultural patterns.
8. Articulate falsifiable an testable hypotheses.
Conclusion (29-30): Explaining data and patterns in the data by deducing "meanings". We must take the risk of being wrong. Datacollection alone is not sufficient!

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TOMBER, Roberta

Tomber, R. 1993. Quantitative Approaches to the Investigation of Long-Distance Exchange. In: JRA 6. 142-166.

Tomber processes quantified data of ceramics for the study of long-distance trade. He uses weights and counts although he admits that EVE would be statistically more reliable but was impossible because the amount of sherds to count was to high. Interesting for some thoughts on quantification as well as for statistical methods used for processing.

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VROOM, Joanita

Vroom, J. 2007. The archaeology of late antique dining habits in the Eastern Mediterranean. A preliminary study of the evidence. In: L. Lavan, E. Swift and T. Putzeys (eds) Objects in Context, Objects in Use. Material Spatiality in Late Antiquity. Late Antique Archaeology 5. Leiden: Brill. 313-362.

This paper sets out to explore the relationship between excavated evidence of dining rooms and table utensils, and changing dining habits in Late Antiquity. In the fi rst part the emphasis is on pictorial representations of dining scenes from the 5th and 6th c. A.D. The second part of the paper examines the archaeological evidence and its relationship to these scenes. On the basis of this evidence, it is not only possible to discuss in detail the architectural layout of the dining room together with its furniture and textiles, but also to give a description of the actual objects (in silver, metal, pottery, glass and in other materials) used on the dining table.
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Opgesteld door Toon Putzeys april 2003
Laatst vernieuwd december 2008