Title

An Experimental Approach to Understanding Thule Pottery Technology

Document Type

Article

Publication Date

5-17-2010

Publication Title

North American Archaeologist

Volume

30

Issue

3

First page number:

291

Last page number:

311

Abstract

The Arctic is poorly suited for pottery manufacture. For historic and prehistoric potters, the cool humid weather would have meant that clays were collected wet, that pots were formed and dried under humid conditions, and that the ground and fuels used during firing would be damp. These situations would have created substantial problems for potters. To investigate how these issues might have affected Thule pottery production, in 2004 the authors initiated a series of replication experiments. These experiments, informed by ethnographic accounts, were carried out in Tununak, Alaska and on the campus of the University of Nevada Las Vegas. Results of our experiments confirm the extreme difficulties associated with making pots in the Arctic. Additionally, they inform on the effects of some of the manufacturing techniques reported to have been used historically and shed light on why Arctic potters might have made the technological choices that they did.

Disciplines

Archaeological Anthropology

Language

English

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