Ceramics question
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Thread: Ceramics question

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  1. #1
    us
    Apr 2017
    south east kansas
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    Ceramics question

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    I hunt for artifacts regularly In se Kansas, there is only one spot where I find ceramics, which is also the only spot bone is preserved. I believe it is due to the mussel shells also in that spot helping to preserve them.

    My question is this, I thought ceramics were fairly durable and should survive burial well, can a fired vessel deteriorate in certain soils? Is it dependent on other factors like temper or climate?
    Last edited by Older The Better; Dec 01, 2019 at 05:10 PM.
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  2. #2
    us
    Aug 2005
    Beautiful Florida
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    I don't know much about pottery but here in Florida it is very common and seems to hold up well. Almost no complete items, all are just shards.
    You call someplace "paradise" kiss it goodbye.
    Don Henley

  3. #3
    us
    Jun 2009
    Florida & Hong Kong
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    There are a couple of factors at play.

    The first is likely to coincidental in many areas, and that is a bit of salt allows you to fire shell tempered pots at a hotter temp which makes for a better earthenware. So lots of shards come from states that have more salt in their environment. It is thought that the Mississippian peoples figured this trick out.

    The second factor is farming. 100 years of plowing tends to breakdown shards into stuff that looks a lot like dirt. About the only place I found shards in Northern Indiana were construction sites or by digging below the plow zone. They were surprisingly common, but made of relatively 'earthy' feeling material. (They felt more like a very hard dirt clod than a chunk of ceramic floor tile.)

  4. #4
    Charter Member
    us
    Nov 2012
    Maryland
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    Woodland period pottery does hold up very well, however, with enough time, it will turn to dust.
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  5. #5
    us
    Apr 2017
    south east kansas
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    I canít really figure out the temper in the stuff I have. Clearly mussel shells were available but I really donít see anything. Farming would account for some spots but Iíve got some in upland bluffs that are rocky and to my knowledge always pasture... maybe trampling? I was also wondering if freeze thaw cycles would break them down too.

  6. #6
    us
    Jun 2009
    Florida & Hong Kong
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    Quote Originally Posted by Older The Better View Post
    I can’t really figure out the temper in the stuff I have. Clearly mussel shells were available but I really don’t see anything. Farming would account for some spots but I’ve got some in upland bluffs that are rocky and to my knowledge always pasture... maybe trampling? I was also wondering if freeze thaw cycles would break them down too.
    Absolutely, freeze/thaw would help speed the crumbling of them. A lot of the pottery was grit, sand or fibre tempered. Those are a lot less durable than shell as I understand it.
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  7. #7
    us
    Mar 2018
    Todds Point, IL
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    I knew an old guy from Edwards Co. IL., deceased now. When he was a kid, his dad broke out a field that had never been farmed. He and his brothers job was to walk behind the plow and break up all the Indian pottery that was coming out. Back then, it was no big deal. They destroyed thousands of dollars worth of pots and didn't know any better. Gary
    Older The Better likes this.

  8. #8
    us
    Apr 2013
    Southwest Mississippi
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    Pottery in the lower MS. valley seems to hold up very well. We have some creeks due to multiple occupation over the years that you can fill a 5gal bucket with broken pottery in a 1 day walk.
    Older The Better likes this.
    If you want to live life on your terms, you need to learn to crash and burn.

  9. #9
    us
    Apr 2017
    south east kansas
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    Itís a good day if I get a single pice

  10. #10
    us
    Jun 2009
    Florida & Hong Kong
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    Quote Originally Posted by ToddsPoint View Post
    I knew an old guy from Edwards Co. IL., deceased now. When he was a kid, his dad broke out a field that had never been farmed. He and his brothers job was to walk behind the plow and break up all the Indian pottery that was coming out. Back then, it was no big deal. They destroyed thousands of dollars worth of pots and didn't know any better. Gary
    Back in the 80's when I lived in South America people collected pottery and stored them in orange sacks (those net bags that they sell oranges or onions in at roadside stands in some places.) Breaking them was also a common option.
    Older The Better likes this.

  11. #11
    us
    Jan 2010
    North of the Balcones Escarpment
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    Here on the Texas Coast the pottery is the most common thing found followed by bone, with flint being as scarce as hens teeth. I've seen sand tempering and shell tempering mostly. Every once in a while you will see crushed pottery as tempering too. Just about everything has traces of asphaltum on it. It was used for waterproofing and decoration
    Older The Better and Tdog like this.

  12. #12
    us
    Apr 2017
    south east kansas
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    Iím the opposite, these are all flint flakes Iíve picked up, I keep them to get an idea what materials were used and how common/rare it is in the area... vs probably around 15 pieces of pottery
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  13. #13
    us
    Apr 2013
    Southwest Mississippi
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    Quote Originally Posted by Older The Better View Post
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    I’m the opposite, these are all flint flakes I’ve picked up, I keep them to get an idea what materials were used and how common/rare it is in the area... vs probably around 15 pieces of pottery
    In my area we also can pick up a lot of flakes and I use to flip them over and not a point I would go on. Now after finding many flakes with micro chipping I pick up all of them an check for an type of extra flaking.
    If you want to live life on your terms, you need to learn to crash and burn.

  14. #14
    us
    Apr 2017
    south east kansas
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    Quote Originally Posted by monsterrack View Post
    In my area we also can pick up a lot of flakes and I use to flip them over and not a point I would go on. Now after finding many flakes with micro chipping I pick up all of them an check for an type of extra flaking.
    Yep thatís why they are dumped out, now that Iím better at identifying artifacts Iím going back and double checking for tools I may have missed before

 

 

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