Coiling on the Wheel: The Sociopolitical Implications of a Particular Formation Technique in Bronze Age Crete

Searching for Structure in Pottery Analysis - Applying Multiple Scales and Instruments to Production - Alan F. Greene

Ina Berg [+-]
University of Manchester
Ina Berg is a Senior Lecturer in Archaeology at the University of Manchester. Her main areas of research are the archaeology of the Cycladic islands in Greece, ceramic analysis – with particular interest in understanding forming techniques through X-radiography - and island archaeology. She is currently writing a book on the prehistory of the Aegean islands.

Description

Clay vessels can be made with a wide variety of distinct forming techniques or combinations of two or more techniques. The most common ways of making pots during the Cretan Bronze Age were wheel-throwing and coiling. Thanks to X-ray studies, macroscopic inspection, and experimental archaeology, “wheel-coiling” – a technique that combines hand-building and wheel-throwing techniques at different stages of the forming process – has recently been recognized as an additional popular forming technique. Tracing the emergence and continuity of these different techniques allows us to put forward hypotheses about their relationship to each other, their socio-political meaning, and the organization of pottery production more generally. It will be demonstrated that wheel-coiling is a technique that emerged at the same time as wheel-throwing and continued to be utilized throughout the Bronze Age. Unlike wheel-throwing, wheel-coiling was employed for the full range of vessels and was uniquely adapted to gain the greatest possible advantage from the slowly revolving potter’s wheel. While wheel-based techniques have frequently been linked to the emergence of the Cretan palaces and the desire of elites to enhance their social standing through provision of specialized craft products, the existence of a highly specialized, independent pottery production since the Final Neolithic undermines this popular assumption.

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Citation

Berg, Ina. Coiling on the Wheel: The Sociopolitical Implications of a Particular Formation Technique in Bronze Age Crete. Searching for Structure in Pottery Analysis - Applying Multiple Scales and Instruments to Production. Equinox eBooks Publishing, United Kingdom. May 2021. ISBN 9781781790533. https://www.equinoxpub.com/home/view-chapter/?id=24651. Date accessed: 22 Oct 2020 doi: 10.1558/equinox.24651. May 2021

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