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.