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Title: The production, circulation and consumption of ceramic vessels at Early Neolithic Knossos, Crete
Author: Tomkins, Peter
Awarding Body: University of Sheffield
Current Institution: University of Sheffield
Date of Award: 2002
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Neolithic ceramics in the Aegean have had a history of interpretation, which has seen them employed to address a series of questions, including chronology, cultural origins, technology, production, circulation and consumption. This study critically reexamines this history of interpretation and explores how it has contributed to current understanding of the production, circulation and consumption of ceramic vessels during the earlier Neolithic (c.6500-4500BC). More specifically it is argued that recent advances in the methods used to characterise variation in Neolithic ceramic assemblages have generally not been matched by increased sophistication in the ways such variation is interpreted. In this study macroscopic and microscopic (petrography, scanning electron microscopy) analyses of Early Neolithic ceramics from Knossos have been combined in order to explore the potential limits of ceramic variation. In the methodology used, the production process is viewed as a series of necessary stages, at each of which the potter exercises choices. From clay choice and processing to vessel forming, finishing and firing, these choices may be revealed through the macroscopic examination of fabric, form and forming and finishing methods, followed by selective sampling for microscopic analysis. Thereby the pottery assemblage may be characterised in terms of its mineralogy, paste preparation and its decorative and firing technology. Additional studies of chronology and changes in site-size have also been produced. This broad analytical program has generated a considerable amount of new data, which forms the basis for individual studies of ceramic technology, production organisation, ceramic exchange and ceramic consumption. In the final analysis the main conclusions arising from each of these studies are compared and contrasted. In this way detailed macroscopic and microscopic analyses of ceramics are ultimately used to explore the changing ways in which the inhabitants of Knossos materially constructed their social world during the seventh, sixth and fifth millennia BC.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available