In A Universal Theory of Pottery Production, award-winning archaeologist Richard A. Krause presents an ethnographic account of pottery production based on archaeological evidence.
Krause posits that the careful study of an archaeological site’s ceramics can be used to formulate a step-and-stage theory of pottery production for the area. Krause’s work suggests that, by comparing the results of inquiries conducted at different sites and for different times, archaeologists may be able to create a general ethnographic theory of pottery production.
Krause demonstrates this process through a comprehensive analysis of potsherds from the highly stratified Puerto Rican site of Paso del Indio. He first provides a comprehensive explanation of the archaeological concepts of attribute, mode, feature, association, site, analysis, and classification. Using these seven concepts, he categorizes the production and decorative techniques in the Paso del Indio site. Krause then applies the concept of “focal form vessels” to the site’s largest fragments to test his step-and-stage theory of production against the evidence they provide. Finally, he assigns the ceramics at Paso del Indio to previously discussed potting traditions.
Unlike other books on the subject that use statistical methods to frame basic archaeological concepts, Krause approaches these topics from the perspective of epistemology and the explicatory practices of empirical science. A Universal Theory of Pottery Production offers much of value to North American, Caribbean, and South American archaeologists interested in theory and the manufacture, decoration, and classification of prehistoric pottery.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Richard A. Krause is a professor emeritus of archaeology at the University of Alabama and senior archaeologist at Tennessee Valley Archaeological Research. He is the author of several books and archaeological monographs, including The Clay Sleeps: An Ethnoarchaeological Study of Three African Potters, The Leavenworth Site: Archaeology of an Historic Arikara Community, and The Snodgrass Small Mound and Middle Tennessee Valley Prehistory, and is a coauthor of The Tombigbee Watershed in Southeastern Prehistory.
PRAISE FOR A UNIVERSAL THEORY OF POTTERY PRODUCTION
“A Universal Theory of Pottery Production deals with a very important topic that is all but ignored by new generations of American archaeologists: the theory behind classification systems. It will be of interest not only to Caribbean archaeologists, but also to scholars of the history of archaeology and anthropology.”
—L. Antonio Curet, author of Caribbean Paleodemography: Population, Culture History, and Sociopolitical Processes in Ancient Puerto Rico and coeditor of Islands at the Crossroads: Migration, Seafaring, and Interaction in the Caribbean
“Krause shows how Rouse has had an impact on continental American archaeology, and I suspect that relatively few scholars are aware of these aspects of Rouse’s work.”
—Sander van der Leeuw, coeditor of Time, Process and Structured Transformation in Archaeology
Caribbean Archaeology and Ethnohistory
L. Antonio Curet, series editor
224 pp / 52 B&W illustrations / 1 map / 9 tables
ISBN: 978-0-8173-1898-7 Cloth
ISBN: 978-0-8173-8944-4 Ebook