Wednesday, 26 October 2016
My MA dissertation was entitled The thermal resistance of hand crushed quartz tempered pottery fron Southwest Neolithic Britain: Making pots that fail an Experimental approach. It presents a recently designated early, regional Neolithic pottery fabric from southwest Britain, restricted to Devon and Cornwall. The period it represents is the Mesolithic-Neolithic transition. This fabric, which has been called large angular crushed vein quartz tempered pottery, has early C14 dates associated it and is found in the whole range of early Neolithic contexts. It is found in large quantities at Hembury and Raddon causewayed enclosures. One of the issues of incorporating large pieces of temper in pottery is whether it is acting as a thermally resistant material or whether it may have had a symbolic significance, over and above a purely technological function. If it would be possible to establish whether or not these inclusions are an effective temper or not, i.e. prevent the pots from cracking whilst being fired then, it may be possible to draw some conclusions or at least offer a tentative interpretations.
Using an experimental methodology designed by myself, based on producing and quantifying cracks in pottery, correlating the data to differing clay paste recipes, containing Upper Greensand sand and large crushed angular vein quartz, the aim is to confirm or suggest that the LACVQT is not an adequate thermally resistant material. The pottery was fired in three bonfires.
The paper and project also considers the wider archaeological questions of distribution, the possibility of exploring the production and whole chaîne opératoire of British southwest Neolithic pottery experimentally.
Tuesday, 26 May 2015
Saturday, 14 July 2012
I am recycling old bits of dried out clay which I have collected from various sources. Then I have added a sand(grog) to the clay which I dug out at Shaugh Prior, Devon, which, I have been told , by Michael Berry, was the residue from granite quarrying there. The prepearation of the clay is labour intensive, it takes a while for the dry clay to slake down, then it has to be dried out on bats (when the weather is damp this is a much longer process). I then wedge the soft clay, turning it over 400 times to give it homogenity and to ensure as few air bubbles as possible are contained within the clay. I then throw the piece, let it dry out, then when it is optimally leather hard, turn the the footring. The piece is then allowed to dry out completely then I have given it several coastings of terra siigillata(aka samain ware) to produce the burnish/shine!!! The piece is then bisque fired in an electric kiln to a 1000 degree C. The final surface finsih for this piece was in a dustbin sawdust firing where I wrapped the bowl in garden rubbish and also some bladderwrack sea weed which I collected from Stonehouse Creek Plymouth, just outside my workshop. .This is an abundantly available material. It was all packed down in the dustbin in sawdust which was set alight an took 24 hours to smoulder/burn down! This bowl was the result.
At the same time I have done some pit firings.