Title

Evaluating the Relationship between Ceramic Wall Thickness and Heating Effectiveness, Fuel Efficiency, and Thermal Shock Resistance

Document Type

Article

Publication Date

7-30-2019

Publication Title

Midcontinental Journal of Archaeology

Volume

44

Issue

3

First page number:

259

Last page number:

275

Abstract

In 1983, David Braun proposed that a shift from thicker- to thinner-walled cooking vessels in the midwestern United States was triggered by an increased dietary reliance on starchy grains (Braun 1983). Drawing on well-established principles of materials science (Van Vlack 1964), he suggested that, compared to thicker-walled vessels, thinner-walled ones would have been more thermally efficient and less likely to break from thermal shock. These attributes, he suggested, would have been advantageous for preparing seeds and grains that require lengthy cooking periods. Although consistent with materials science principles, Braun’s proposition has never been tested. In this paper, we present results of experiments undertaken to evaluate the relative cooking efficiency of thin- versus thick-walled vessels and consider the implications of these findings for understanding traditional ceramic technologies.

Keywords

Ceramic technologyl; Thermal shock resistance; Heating effectiveness

Disciplines

Agriculture | Anthropology

Language

English

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