Pottery and Dating
BibArch Home Up Pottery and Dating Tree-Ring Dating Carbon Dating



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BibArch Home Up Pottery Chart Levantine Ceramics

Pottery, providing the basis for the most popular method of Levantine archaeological dating, constitutes the most abundant find in Levantine excavation sites. Levantine houses generally contained storage jars for flour and olive oil, cooking pots, vessels for the serving of food, and water jars. In common use were earthenware cooking pots fueled by dried dung, charcoal, and the like. Earthenware oil lamps with their characteristic lip at the side provided a means for the burning of oil for light.

These cultural objects, usually referred to as pottery, had and continue to retain cultural significance. Their manufacture may have been by hand or by wheel. The composition of the clay prepared for the manufacture of ceramics, design, and the firing temperature, varied by period and culture. Some items bear the mark, known as enigmatic marks, of their maker. During the Bronze and Iron Ages, the Levantine pottery industry thrived.

Pottery specialists study the design, composition, and manufacturing of ceramic materials. Through petrography, the microscopic examination of transparent thin sections of pottery, researchers can gain insight into the physical composition of the clay used in the manufacture of the pottery sample. Neutron activation analysis makes possible the determination of the chemical composition of the clay of the pottery sample as a clue to its possible place of origin.

Remains of imported ceramics provide important data concerning cross-dating and ancient commerce and trade. Nearly indestructible pottery shards, fragments of ceramic vessels, constitute primary data from which analysis of chronological, ethnic, and regional change can proceed. Quantitative analysis enables researchers to refine their conclusions and to identify minute chronological and regional developments. Various aspects of pottery making define criteria for defining regional cultures in various periods. Imported ceramic evidence trade relations and permit cross dating. Researchers perform similar typological and laboratory analysis on other classes of finds and materials e.g., metal objects.

Page last edited: 01/25/06 07:06 PM

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