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The Analytical Nexus: Multi-Technique Approaches to Ceramic Composition

Author(s): Wesley Stoner

Year: 2015

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Archaeologists have employed many different approaches to characterize the composition of ceramic pastes, but until recently only a minority of studies have used multiple analytical techniques to examine the same sample. An "analytical technique" is used here to mean a single perspective that characterizes an aspect of a ceramic paste. Since humans created pottery using different processes and recipes, it follows that each perspective teaches us about a unique aspect of the potter's behavior and social context. We have moved beyond the argument of "which technique is better?" into a phase of research that asks "which social or technological behavior does this technique reflect?" It is unrealistic to expect that all perspectives will be represented in any case study, but we must situate the different techniques within a framework that permits interpretations bringing us from technical observation to social deductions. The analytical nexus of these different techniques allows archaeologists to create a rich description of the social decisions and geoarchaeological processes that affect ceramic systems. I exemplify one version of the analytical nexus with my own research in Mexico using petrography, NAA, and LA-ICP-MS.

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The Analytical Nexus: Multi-Technique Approaches to Ceramic Composition. Wesley Stoner. Presented at The 80th Annual Meeting of the Society for American Archaeology, San Francisco, California. 2015 ( tDAR id: 397110)


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Spatial Coverage

min long: -107.271; min lat: 12.383 ; max long: -86.353; max lat: 23.08 ;

Arizona State University The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation National Science Foundation National Endowment for the Humanities Society for American Archaeology Archaeological Institute of America