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Coiling or slab building: Potential of orientation analysis for identification of forming techniques used by Early Neolithic potters

Thér, Richard, Květina, Petr, Neumannová, Klára
Journal of archaeological science: Reports 2019 v.26 pp. 101877
archaeology, ceramics, microstructure
This work explores the potential of analysis based on quantification of the orientation of components of a ceramic body to distinguish between the two basic families of hand-building techniques (coiling and slab-building). The previous application of the method to techniques related to the use of the potter's wheel showed that this approach can yield details specific for the relationship between the orientation of the components of a ceramic body and the pottery forming technique. Consequently, we explored its potential for identification of the basic hand building techniques and found that it is very limited in this case. However, the study provides important information related to the effects of the studied forming techniques on the orientation. The results show that the hypothetical effects of the basic forming forces that define these techniques can be significantly altered during the forming of a vessel. The results of the experimental study warn against a schematic view of the orientation patterns. Slab building and coiling are among techniques where the vectors of the forming force are not sufficiently constrained by the basic principles of the technique. Consequently, they can produce very variable orientations of the microstructures of the completed ceramic vessels.