Posted by: itellhalif | June 20, 2017

The Saga of Pottery Reconstruction

Pottery reconstruction is an important step in processing the excavated finds and preparing them for publication.  Putting the ceramic pieces together gives us an idea of what types of vessels were present at the excavated location; in our case, domestic structures.  These would include store jars, bowls, jugs and juglets.  The nature and number of the vessels can tell us a lot about daily life of the inhabitants.  Since the site was violently destroyed, the vessels were smashed on the floors of the houses; however, when we excavated the houses we knew that pottery reconstruction would be one of the acts we would perform, we collected the sherds in a methodical way that makes it easier to reconstruct them.

When we reached a floor and realized that it was covered with smashed pottery, we laid on it a 50cm x 50cm grid.  Each square was numbered and its pottery was collected into a separate basket.  In the lab, the pottery was unpacked and laid in a way that resembles the relationship of the baskets in the field.

To be reconstructed_0006.JPG

Each sherd is marked with the basket number and is numbered.  This establishes the identity of the sherds.  Now starts the process of putting the puzzle together.  Usually it begins with selecting a diagnostic sherd such as a rim or a bottom and the reconstruction begins.


Sometimes  pieces belonging to the same vessel would be found in different pottery baskets so it is important to maintain the field relationship in the lab.

Not all reconstructions produce the whole vessel, but the important thing is to get enough of the vessel that would give us the profile.

Reconstructed jars_0007.JPG

In the short time we have been here, we managed to reconstruct quite a few vessels.  We have a storage room were the finished ones are awaiting the next step, drawing.  Hopefully we will be able to do it next summer while continuing to reconstruct the broken vessels.

Jars on shelves_0011.JPG




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