Approaching surface treatment in prehistoric pottery: Exploring variability in tool traces on pottery surfaces through experimentation

Sara Díaz Bonilla*, Niccolò Mazzucco, Ermengol Gassiot Ballbe, Xavier Clop García, Ignacio Clemente Conte, Ariadna Benavides Ribes

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review

1 Citation (Scopus)

Abstract

The surface treatment of handmade pottery is often described in ceramological studies of prehistoric collections. However, beyond inferences about its meaning, few works have addressed this issue in depth. For this study, an experimental program has been carried out, where the main variable being explored was the category of tool involved in the fabrication of prehistoric handmade pottery. Therefore, we start from the hypothesis that different tools generate differentiable traces. A catalogue of traces generated by five pottery tools (pebble, flint spatula, pottery spatula, shell spatula and linen rag) was created, with the aim of characterizing and systematizing them. The resulting macroscopic analysis allowed a first qualitative classification of the traces. Microscopic analysis by confocal microscopy then confirmed the classification with quantitative data. The potential of the proposed methodology for traceological and textural analysis of surface treatment in ceramics is highlighted. Hence, the possibility of discriminating different surface treatment techniques opens new perspectives for the study of prehistoric pottery.

Original languageAmerican English
JournalQuaternary International
DOIs
Publication statusAccepted in press - 2020

Keywords

  • Experimentation
  • Pottery surface
  • Reference collection
  • Toolkit
  • Traceology

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