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Expanding the (Micro)Scope: Exploring the technological and provenance characteristics of Inuit pottery containing atypical, animal-deriving organic paste ingredients

Author(s): Linda Howie ; John Moody ; Lisa Hodgetts

Year: 2015

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Summary

The extensive research on pottery manufacture in past and contemporary societies suggests that the pallet of tempering materials potters select from includes a relatively limited range of options deriving from the geological landscape, plants (e.g. chaff) and animals (e.g. bone). This tendency is significant considering that almost any material or substance can be incorporated into a paste mixture; what is included in any specific instance is a matter of choice, shaped by the potter’s learned knowledge of appropriate procedures. Blood, hair, feathers, fat and internal organs are not typical ingredients of ceramic pastes, yet ethnographic reports of pottery making among the Inuit of Arctic North America indicate that they were commonly used. Accurate identification and quantification of these animal-deriving constituents in archaeological pottery is critical to our understanding of the logic of craft practice among hunter-gathers of the circumpolar region, as well as the interactions and movements of people, resources and material objects within this natural and social environment. In this paper we present a descriptive-systems-based approach for the characterization of ceramic bodies containing atypical organic tempers which expands: 1) current methods of ceramic thin section analysis and description, and 2) the evidentiary basis of technological and provenance interpretations.

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Expanding the (Micro)Scope: Exploring the technological and provenance characteristics of Inuit pottery containing atypical, animal-deriving organic paste ingredients. John Moody, Linda Howie, Lisa Hodgetts. Presented at The 80th Annual Meeting of the Society for American Archaeology, San Francisco, California. 2015 ( tDAR id: 397114)


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Spatial Coverage

min long: -178.41; min lat: 62.104 ; max long: 178.77; max lat: 83.52 ;

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