Petrography is the microscopic examination of thin sections of pottery to determine their precise mineralogical composition. In this groundbreaking work, James B. Stoltman applies quantitative as well as qualitative methods to the petrography of Native American ceramics. As explained in Ceramic Petrography and Hopewell Interaction, by adapting refinements to the technique of petrography, Stoltman offers a powerful new set of tools that enables fact-based and rigorous identification of the composition and sources of pottery.
Stoltman’s subject is the cultural interaction among the Hopewell Interaction Sphere societies of the Ohio Valley region and contemporary peoples of the Southeast. Inferring social and commercial relationships between disparate communities by determining whether objects found in one settlement originated there or elsewhere is a foundational technique of archaeology. The technique, however, rests on the informed but necessarily imperfect visual inspection of objects by archaeologists. Petrography greatly amplifies archaeologists’ ability to determine objects’ provenance with greater precision and less guesswork.
Using petrography to study a vast quantity of pottery samples sourced from Hopewell communities, Stoltman is able for the first time to establish which items are local, which are local but atypical, and which originated elsewhere. Another exciting possibility with petrography is to further determine the home source of objects that came from afar. Thus, combining traditional qualitative techniques with a wealth of new quantitative data, Ceramic Petrography and Hopewell Interaction offers a map of social and trade relationships among communities within and beyond the Hopewell Interaction Sphere with much greater precision and confidence than in the past.
Ceramic Petrography and Hopewell Interaction provides a clear and concise explanation of petrographic methods, Stoltman’s findings about Hopewell and southeastern ceramics in various sites, and the fascinating discovery that visits to Hopewell centers by southeastern Native Americans were not only for trade purposes but more for such purposes as pilgrimages, vision- and power-questing, healing, and the acquisition of knowledge.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
James B. Stoltman is a leading expert on the prehistory of the Midwest. He is the author of Laurel Culture in Minnesota and Groton Plantation: An Archaeological Study of a South Carolina Locality and the editor of New Perspectives on Cahokia: Views from the Periphery. He has also written numerous research articles and reviews and served as president of the Wisconsin Archaeological Society and Wisconsin Archaeological Survey.
PRAISE FOR CERAMIC PETROGRAPHY AND HOPEWELL INTERACTION
“Ceramic Petrography and Hopewell Interaction is archaeological analysis and interpretation of the highest order. It is a monumental work and cements Stoltman’s reputation as being among the very best in the profession. The book is a must-own-and-read volume for prehistoric archaeologists in the eastern United States and beyond.”
–Robert C. Mainfort Jr., author of Pinson Mounds: Middle Woodland Ceremonialism in the Midsouth and coeditor of Mississippian Mortuary Practices: Beyond Hierarchy and the Representationist Perspective
“In beautifully written, concise fashion, Stoltman presents the results of years of comparative research with Hopewell and Hopewell-like pottery from Ohio and from many sites in the greater Southeast. The petrographic methods he has developed offer a logical and elegant technique for objectively classifying ‘local’ ware and for differentiating truly nonlocal wares from idiosyncratic local products. Ceramic Petrography and Hopewell Interaction will be of fundamental significance to archaeologists interested in the Woodland period. It also has broad significance to researchers who employ pottery to discern exchange patterns and provenance.”
–Ann S. Cordell, ceramic technology laboratory archaeologist at the Florida Museum of Natural History
6 X 9, 232 pp
ISBN: 978-0-8173-1859-8 Cloth
ISBN: 978-0-8173-8807-2 Ebook