SAS Bulletin
Volume 19 Number 3/4 July /December 1996

Archaeological Ceramics

Charles C. Kolb, Associate Editor

This new column will contain news about archaeological ceramics, ceramic ethnoarchaeology, ethnoceramic studies (ethnographic and ethnohistoric), laboratory studies about ceramic materials, and method and theory, among other relevant topics. The column will include information about important publications; reviews of books and monographs; notices about recent and forthcoming conferences, symposia, and seminars; requests for assistance and information; employment opportunities; and other salient information. In order for this incipient enterprise to be successful, I urge you to send relevant information to me (address on back cover). Hard copy or e-mail submissions are preferred.


The 62nd annual meeting of the Society for American Archaeology was held from 2-6 April 1997 at the Opryland Hotel in Nashville, TN. There were at least 71 papers presented which dealt with ceramic analyses, archaeological ceramics, ceramic ethnoarchaeology, and/or ceramic chronology. A major topical trend represented among the papers was the chemical sourcing of ceramics. The results of INAA and chemical sourcing research on obsidian and ceramics conducted at the University of Missouri's Research Reactor featured notably in many presentations: Hector Neff was the author or coauthor of ten papers while Mike Glascock was the coauthor of six presentations. Donna Glowacki (Crow Canyon) organized a nine-paper symposium entitled "Chemical Sourcing of Ceramics in the Greater Southwest." Ron Bishop and Eric Blinman served as the discussants.

The 1997 SAA "Award for Excellence in Ceramic Studies," conferred annually since 1994, was awarded to Ron Bishop (Smithsonian Institution-Conservation Analytical Laboratory) and James Hill (U. of Arizona). Ron was recognized for his work in establishing the research design for INAA of ceramic materials which set the standard for provenience studies. Jim Hill's award recalled his studies on ceramics from Broken K Pueblo and the use of material culture in the study of ancient social organization. An SAA "Presidential Recognition Award" was presented to Florence Lister for her exceptional contributions to the study of ceramics and especially her research on Spanish majolica pottery in both the Old and New Worlds with her late husband, Robert.

Additional information about the ceramic research presented at the SAA meeting and a list of the 71 papers will be found in forthcoming issues of La Tinaja and The Old Potter's Almanac (see below).

The 30th Anniversary Joint Conference of the Society for Historical Archaeology and the Society for Post-Medieval Archaeology was held in Williamsburg, VA from 6-10 April 1997. These societies, based in the US and in the UK respectively, co-sponsored the first of two joint conferences entitled "Archaeology of the British 1600-1800: Views from Two Worlds." The initial conference was chaired by Norm Barka (College of William and Mary) and the program committee was chaired by Marley R. Brown III (Colonial Williamsburg, Department of Archaeological Research). Twenty three papers (11 by North Americans and 12 by British guests) were presented, with four focused on ceramic materials: John Allen (Exeter Museum), "Makers, Exporters, and Redistributors: The Role of the British West Country Ports in the 17th C. Ceramics Trade"; David Gaimster (British Museum) and David Barker (Stoke-on-Trent Museum), "The Ceramic Revolution, 1450-1650 and 1650-1850"; David Higgins (Liverpool University), "Little Tubes of Mighty Power" [smoking pipes]; and Stanley South (U. of South Carolina, IAA), "Excavation of the Pottery of John Bartlam, The First Creamware Potter in America." The second SPMA/SHA meeting will be held 3-7 November 1997 in London.


La Tinaja: A Newsletter of Archaological Ceramics, a quarterly (Volume 10 = 1997), costs $10 per year ($15 for foreign subscriptions) - checks only - and is available from its editor, James E. Corbin, Box 13047 SFA Station, Stephen F. Austin University, Nacogdoches, TX 75962-3047. For information, e-mail:

The Old Potter's Almanack: Joint Newsletter of the Prehistoric Ceramics Research Group and the Ceramic Petrology Group, has three issues per annum (Volume 5 = 1997) for 5.00. Subscription information may be obtained through the editor, Andrew Middleton, British Museum, Department of Scientific Research, Great Russell Street, London WC1B 3DG; telephone: 0171 636 1555, fax 0171 323 8276.

ACRO Update: Quarterly Newsletter of the Asian Ceramic Research Organization, edited by Chuimei Ho, is available from the Anthropology Department, Field Museum of Natural History, Roosevelt Road at Lake Shore Drive, Chicago, IL 60605. Subscriptions are $15 per annum, Information is available via telephone, 312-922-9410 (ext. 308), or fax at 312-427-7269.

Three Forthcoming Ceramic Meetings Conflict

The annual Meeting of the American Anthropological Association is scheduled for 19-23 November 1997 in Washington, DC. The Ceramic Interest Research Group (a loose organization of archaeologists, ethnographers, art historians, potters, and physical scientists), organized in 1985 at the suggestion of Fred Matson (Penn State), has submitted its 11th annual Ceramic Ecology Symposium, "Ceramic Ecology '97: Recent Research on Ceramics" which includes ten papers. The co-organizers are Louana M. Lackey (Maryland Institute, College of Art) and Charles C. Kolb.

The British Museum in London is the sponsor of an exhibition and a conference entitled "Ceramic Technology and Production -- Until the Industrial Revolution" to be held 20-22 November 1997 at the museum. Additional information is available from Andrew Middleton or Ian Freestone, British Museum (see above for address, phone and fax).

The American School of Oriental Research annual meeting is scheduled in Napa Valley, CA from 15-21 November 1997. Among the symposia already scheduled are Gloria London's (U. of Washington) session on ceramic ethnoarchaeology, "Pottery Analysis and Interpretation." Information may be obtained from: Gloria London, 7701 Crest Drive, NE; Seattle, WA 98115; 206-522-6426; e-mail:


Mocha, Banded, Cat's Eye, and Other Factory-made Slipware by Lynne Sussman; 102 pp., 94 black-and-white figures, color cover illustration, 3 tables, 3 appendices, and references. Boston: Council for Northeastern Archaeology, Studies in Northeastern Historical Archaeology Number 1, 1997. This volume documents factory-made, mass-produced slipwares made by British, French, and North American potters from the late 18th to the 20th century. The volume's contents include an analysis of 22 types of decoration, historical information on the ware from commercial records and marked vessels, and a reconstruction of the chronology of decorations and forms based upon archaeological data. Copies may be ordered by check or money order payable to "Journal of Northeast Historical Archaeology," $20.00 (US) per copy plus $1.75 per volume postage and handling, $0.25 for each additional volume. Send orders and remittance to: CNEHA, c/o Mary Beaudry, Department of Archaeology, Boston University, 675 Commonwealth Avenue, Boston, MA 02215; or correspond via e-mail:

The Cultural Resources Group, Louis Berger & Associates, Inc. has published Analytical Coding System for Historic Period Artifacts, prepared in June 1996 by Sharla C. Azizi, Diane Dallal, Mallory A. Gordon, Meta F. Janowitz, Nadia N. S. Maczai, and Marie- Lorraine Pipes. Chapter II concerns ceramics (pp. 5-62), Chapter III deals with glass (pp. 63-113), and Chapter IV considers pipes (pp. ll5-l37). The volume sells for $20.00 plus $2.75 each shipping and handling. It may be ordered by check or money order made payable to "Louis Berger & Associates, Inc." Mail to: Louis Berger & Associates, Attention: Sharla Azizi, 100 Halsted Street, East Orange, NJ 07019; 201-678-1960, fax 201-678-3427.

The British Museum Press, 46 Bloomsbury Street, London WC1 3QQ (tel 0171-323-1234, fax 0171-4367315) has announced two forthcoming publications. These may be ordered directly from the press by cheque or credit card (Access, American Express, Diners Club, Eurocard, Visa). Pottery in the Making: World Ceramic Traditions, edited by Ian Freestone and David Gaimster (ISBN 0 7141 1782X). Freestone is head of ceramics in the Department of Scientific Research, British Museum; Gaimster is a curator in the Department of Medieval and Later Antiquities, British Museum. The projected 240-page volume, scheduled for publication on 7 July 1997, will have 32 chapters prepared by 25 authors, and is supplemented by maps, a glossary, bibliography, concordance, an index, and 50 color and 200 black-and-white illustrations. The focus is upon raw materials and production techniques, and draws upon the vast ceramic collections of the British Museum to examine more than thirty pottery traditions from prehistoric Japan to contemporary Africa and Indian Subcontinent and covers ca. 12,000 years. This handbook will cost 18.99 (plus 2.50 postage and packing), and 15% of order value for Overseas Surface Mail (airmail rates available upon request).

The second British Museum Press volume, German Stoneware 1200- 1900, written by David Gaimster, is scheduled for publication in late October 1997 (ISBN 0 7141 0571 6). This 448-page book is a comprehensive review of collectible pottery including stoneware, based upon collections from the British Museum, Victoria and Albert Museum, and Museum of London. It has seven chapters, seven appendices, an index, and 40 color and 425 black-and-white illustrations. Among the appendices are: I: Scientific Study of German Stoneware: Provenance Studies, and II: Scientific Study of German Stoneware: Glazes. The volume will sell for 45 (plus 3.50 for postage and packing), and 15% of order value for Overseas Surface Mail (airmail rates available upon request). The Archaeology of Martin's Hundred, Vol. 1: Interpretive Studies, Vol. 2: The Artifact Catalog (together 700 pp., 164 illustrations, 95 black-and-white photos), by Ivor Noel Hume and Audrey Noel Hume, is scheduled for publication by the Colonial Williamsburg Foundation in early 1998. The anticipated cost of the two-volume set is $95.00. For further information, contact: Director of Publications, Colonial Williamsburg Foundation, P.O. Box 1776, Williamsurg, VA 23187-1776.

"Ceramic Studies in Archaeology: The Interfaces of Anthropology and Materials Science" is the title of a bibliographic essay written by Charles C. Kolb that appeared in the December 1996 issue of CHOICE: Current Reviews for Academic Libraries 34(4):571-583. The essay emphasizes nearly 200 books and monographs published during the past decade and includes the following subheadings: Research on Ancient Ceramics, General Works and Principal Texts, Science and Archaeology, Laboratory Method and Interpretation, Petrographic and Physicochemical Analyses, Vessel Contents and Residue Analysis, Ceramic Ecology, Ceramic Ethnoarchaeology, Symposia, and Geographic Overviews: The Old World and The New World.

Background: Associate Editor for Archaeological Ceramics

Charlie Kolb is an administrator in the Division of Preservation and Access at the National Endowment for the Humanities, and has studied the physical and cultural properties of ceramic materials for over 35 years. Since 1962 he has conducted long-term archaeological field work in central Mexico, northern Afghanistan, and the Lake Erie Basin, and has done additional field and laboratory work on ceramic materials in Uganda, Peru, and Guatemala. At NEH he is responsible for grant applications that provide for the preservation of and intellectual access to library, archival, and material culture collections (in particular, microfilm, audio and videotape, moving images, photographs, negatives, digitization, storage conditions, and environmental controls) and for research and demonstration projects.

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