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Title: Pottery ancestories : comparing ceramic evolution in the Eastern Mediterranean and south-east Arabia during the Middle Bronze Age (ca. 2000-1550 BC) with the use of phylogenetic methods
Author: De-Vreeze, Michel
ISNI:       0000 0004 6058 5979
Awarding Body: Durham University
Current Institution: Durham University
Date of Award: 2017
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This thesis uses phylogenetic methods such as cladistics to address and revaluate the evolution of ceramic data. Evolution is often implied in ceramic studies but its exact operation in relation to cultural transmission is rarely specified. This thesis asks how phylogenetic methods can be used to study ceramic evolution and how these can reform our perception on the narrative of ceramic change. It does this by forming a theoretical approach based on current anthropological and archaeological theories on ceramics, in conjunction with insights from evolutionary methods. A synthesis of ceramic theory tries to outline the different theoretical approaches and how they might fit with evolutionary perceptions of material cultural change. It suggests that the chaîne opératoire of ceramic production is critical in identifying ceramic characteristics to use in evolutionary analysis, and forms the key conceptual framework to address the meaning of ceramic evolution relating to cultural processes. Subsequently the methodology and application of phylogenetic methods is discussed. The following chapter uses a phylogenetic approach based on the general idea of ‘descent with modification from a common ancestor’ to gain insight into the suggested evolution of Tell el-Yahudiya ware in the Eastern Mediterranean. A second case study focusses on the Middle Bronze Age in south-east Arabia and examines the evolution of Wadi Suq vessels, focussing on shapes associated with communal drinking. In the discussion, the results of both areas are brought together and synthesized with a view to evaluating the use and application of phylogenetic methods and their implications for our understanding of ceramic development and what they reflect in terms of the distinct social changes in these regions. Finally, the thesis seeks to evaluate both the use of evolutionary approaches to ceramic change, and the challenges these methods pose to the way archaeologists have traditionally processed ceramic data and analysed ceramic change.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available