Friday, July 3, 2009

What are these weird little vessels?

Here are some photos of one of our mystery ceramic types. We call these type 134, "Crude unfinished," which is descriptive of their shapes (crude, not symmetrical) and surface treatment (unfinished or poorly finished). They look like some kind of industrial objects, things used in a craft process and not in domestic or public serving activities. The trouble with that interpretation is that they are found in virtually all of the excavated domestic contexts. If they were used for a special craft process (metallurgy?? paints or pigments for some kind of product??), we would expect them to be concentrated in high frequencies in a few locations and rare in most places. Hmmmmm.......

I have tentatively identified several different form-based groups: bowls (top left in the top photo); jars (middle row in the bottom photo); ladles (right side of the top photo); and small vessels, the most abundant category (bottom rows of the top photo). Not sure where this gets us, but we sure have a lot of these items (thousands of pieces so far).

If you have any suggestions, please let me know!


Michael E. Smith said...

I am starting to think that my objection to these being craft items -- that they are found in all houses -- may not be valid. We are finding evidence for a number of craft activities that were very widely practiced at the site.

Anonymous said...

Maybe they contained cosmetic or medicinal items? Things that are made or consumed in small quantities or at a slow rate.