Clay and Technology: Micronesian ceramic tradition

Author(s): Michiko Intoh

Year: 2015


Pottery tradition in Micronesia was diverse in terms of technology. This relates to various factors, such as historical and/or cultural reasons and the natural environmental conditions. Above all, the nature of clay resource available to the potters has significant effect upon forming techniques and products. Thanks to William Dickinson’s wide-ranging geological knowledge and active involvement in mineralogical studies of excavated pottery from Oceania, our understanding on prehistoric pottery technology has significantly been developed.

This paper examines the technological variation of prehistoric pottery makings described in Micronesia, focusing on the tempering technique in particular. All the early pottery traditions identified in high islands of Micronesia have fine beach sand (most are calcareous) mixed in the clay as a temper. This tradition was comparable to the early Lapita pottery traditions in Melanesia and western Polynesia. The subsequent changes observed in Micronesian pottery were diverse. It is most probable that the technological alterations to avoid using calcareous sand temper had caused the variations in technology and in the products.

SAA 2015 abstracts made available in tDAR courtesy of the Society for American Archaeology and Center for Digital Antiquity Collaborative Program to improve digital data in archaeology. If you are the author of this presentation you may upload your paper, poster, presentation, or associated data (up to 3 files/30MB) for free. Please visit for instructions and more information.

Cite this Record

Clay and Technology: Micronesian ceramic tradition. Michiko Intoh. Presented at The 80th Annual Meeting of the Society for American Archaeology, San Francisco, California. 2015 ( tDAR id: 395141)


Geographic Keywords

Spatial Coverage

min long: 111.973; min lat: -52.052 ; max long: -87.715; max lat: 53.331 ;