Friday, December 8, 2023

Fields, Sherds and Scholars: Recording and Interpreting Survey Ceramics

Edited by Anna Meens, Margarita Nazou, Winfred van de Put

This book is a significant contribution to the field of survey pottery studies, which is not frequently theorised, and could also serve as a guide and provide inspiration to archaeologists designing their own survey projects and methodologies.

Landscape archaeology has heavily relied on pedestrian survey as a field method for more than half a century. In most field projects, archaeological ceramics constitute the lion’s share among the finds and the amount of collected sherds is overwhelming. Survey ceramics provide the basis for understanding human activity in a landscape, and sherds serve as convenient chronological markers for the archaeological sites discovered in field projects. However, how this pottery is collected and studied determines the possibilities for using the sherds as a source material. Not only the collection practices, but also the process and practicalities of ceramic analysis are rarely made explicit, even though the archaeological interpretations of human activity in the landscape strongly rely on it.

Most contributions in this volume provide an insight in collection, processing and interpretation practices in a specific survey project, and we hope this transparency is inspiring and contributes to a better understanding of surface ceramics as a basis for historical interpretations. Three themes run as a red thread through the contributions in this book: first of all transparency in ceramic collecting, processing and interpretation, secondly, improving diagnosticity, and thirdly, expanding the interpretive potential of survey ceramics.

The chapters are geographically oriented towards Greece, Italy and Spain, three countries in which archaeological surface survey is widely practised. Chronologically, the contributions range from the Final Neolithic to the Medieval period.

Survey ceramics in the spotlight
Anna Meens, Margarita Nazou & Winfred van de Put

Pottery studies in survey in the eastern Mediterranean over the last 20 years – a personal account
Kristina Winther-Jacobsen

Statistical distances on a map (STADION): a method for exploring intra-site variability of pottery assemblages
Jesús García Sánchez

Diagnostic visibility and problems of quantification in survey assemblages. Examples from the Mazi archaeological project (Northwest Attica)
Christian F. Cloke, Alex R. Knodell, Sylvian Fachard & Kalliopi Papangeli

Down to the details. The pottery recording methodology from the Kea Archaeological Research Survey
Margarita Nazou, Joanne Murphy, Natalie Abell, Shannon LaFayette Hogue & John Wallrodt

The potential of impasto pottery studies for understanding regional settlement dynamics, cultural transmission and connectivity in Bronze Age landscapes in Italy
Francesca Ippolito & Peter Attema

Survey, ceramics and statistics. The potential for technological traits as chronological markers
Ayla Krijnen, Jitte Waagen & Jill Hilditch

The analytical potential of intensive field survey data. Developments in the collection, analysis and interpretation of surface ceramics within the Pontine Region Project
Tymon de Haas & Gijs Tol

The Ayios Vasileios Survey Project. Diagnostic samples versus total samples and their biases
Corien W. Wiersma

Diagnosing the undiagnostic. Using sherd databases as a source of interpretation
Vladimir Stissi

Tales of two cities. Urban surveys of the Hellenistic and Roman cities of Sikyon and Knossos
Conor P. Trainor & Peter J. Stone

A case in point(s). The Late Hellenistic to Late Roman pottery from extra-mural Tanagra and the formation of the surface record: methodology, chronology and function
Dean Peeters, Philip Bes & Jeroen Poblome

Buried landscapes and landscapes of the buried. Considering rural burial in survey
Anna Meens

Paperback ISBN: 9789464262094 | Hardback ISBN: 9789464262100 | Imprint: Sidestone Press | Format: 210x280mm | 170 pp. | Publications of the Netherlands Institute at Athens IX | Language: English | 12 illus. (bw) | 73 illus. (fc) | Keywords: archaeological survey; landscape; ceramics; statistics; pottery typology; function; chronology; Greek archaeology; Italian archaeology | download cover | DOI: 10.59641/m11443py



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