Ceramic Analysis

Module: AR3023

Ceramics were produced by many human societies from prehistory until the present day and as such are one of the main material remains studied by archaeologists all over the world. In this module you will learn different perspectives to approach the study of ceramics, ranging from quantitative assessments of ceramic assemblages in excavations to technological analysis using different scientific techniques. We will start by looking at the sherds that we recover from the excavation and the information that these can give in terms of shapes, functions, quantity and exchange. After this, we will work our way backwards to find out about how these sherds came to be from ceramics, how the ceramics were formed from clay and how the clay was quarried from landscapes. How do archaeologists use all this information? Join to find out!

Topics covered

  • Why are ceramics important?
  • From ceramics to sherds: date, function, quantity
  • Shaping clay into ceramics
  • From the quarry to the clay in the ceramic workshop: chemistry and mineralogy 
  • Overview: how can we make the most of ceramic analysis?
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