Soil, Hands, and Heads: An Ethnoarchaeological Study on Local Preconditions of Pottery Production in the Wei River Valley (Northern China)
This paper approaches ceramic production by combining four aspects of data: geographic background, archaeological find, ethnoarchaeological work, and material analysis. Taking the middle Neolithic site of Yangguanzhai in Shaanxi as a case study, this paper examined the preconditions and processes of pottery making in northern China during the Yangshao Period (5000-3000 BC). Materials from over ten years of excavation and survey at Yangguanzhai and the results of ethnoarchaeological studies in the same region were compared and samples were analyzed using ED-XRF. The results show that potters, both past and present, systematically sought out suitable raw materials, and preferred to work and settle close to clay and water sources as well as major routes of distribution. A larger scale of production may cause modern potters to use more than one type of clay and include less ideal material, a process which is also visible in the archaeological record. Both ancient and modern potters were specialized, and Yangguanzhai may even have been a specialized production center and not a normal settlement as previously assumed. As this preliminary study shows, such research could go further towards understanding the scale and organization of ceramic production in prehistoric northern China.
Cite this Record
Soil, Hands, and Heads: An Ethnoarchaeological Study on Local Preconditions of Pottery Production in the Wei River Valley (Northern China). Anke M. Hein, Ye Wa, Jianfeng Cui. Presented at The 81st Annual Meeting of the Society for American Archaeology, Vancouver, British Columbia. 2017 ( tDAR id: 429755)
This Resource is Part of the Following Collections
min long: 66.885; min lat: -8.928 ; max long: 147.568; max lat: 54.059 ;
Abstract Id(s): 12160