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Agency

Caddo Archeology Journal

Abstract

My interest in pottery replication began about 30 years ago. As an archeologist, I was often required to analyze collections of prehistoric pottery. My analytical techniques were limited but standard for the day and usually involved classifying pottery according to previously defined pottery types and varieties. While this type of classification helps archeologists develop chronologies and determine cultural affiliation, it provides little understanding of how pottery was actually made. I felt that I might be able to enhance my analytical skills and possibly glean a little more from the archeological record if I could learn more about how pottery was made. So in 1978, I gathered some alluvial clay from the Arkansas River floodplain and began my long journey. My primary objective has been to try and reproduce, as closely as possible, what I see in the archeological record in hopes that it might give me and others a better understanding of all the processes involved in the manufacture of prehistoric pottery. I sometimes find that I can’t see what I am looking at in sufficient detail until I am faced with the task of having to draw or make it. Replication forces us to take a closer look at things and then allows us to see a little more clearly. Replication also connects you to the past and allows you to learn directly from the original artist. For me, it was simply not enough to just study pottery – I had to experience it.

During my journey, I have drawn information from a variety of resources. These include a careful analysis of prehistoric pottery, an extensive review of archeological and ethnographic documentation regarding Indian pottery manufacture in the Southeast, studying modern cultures that still use traditional pottery making techniques, consulting with Indian potters, archeologists other replicators and through trial and error coupled with careful observation and comparison (basic Experimental Archeology).

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Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.

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