image/svg+xml331XII/2/2021INTERDISCIPLINARIA ARCHAEOLOGICANATURAL SCIENCES IN ARCHAEOLOGYhomepage: http://www.iansa.euThematic reviewMaterial Methods; Considering Ceramic Raw Materials and the Spread of the Potter‘s Wheel in Early Iron Age Southern IberiaBeatrijs G. de Groot1*1The University of Edinburgh, School of History, Classics and Archaeology, William Robertson Wing, Old Medical School, Teviot Place, Edinburgh, EH8 9AG, United Kingdom1. IntroductionIn the Iberian Peninsula, the frst millennium BCE is a period of socio-economic and cultural transformations, which culminated in the development of proto-urban lifeways (Almagro Gorbea, 2014). Widespread changes took place in the organisation of food production and consumption, religious practices, pottery technology and metallurgy. Fundamental to the changes taking place here were the expansion of Phoenician long-distance trade networks, which facilitated the spread of people and technological innovations across the Mediterranean (e.g., Manning, 2018, p.38). In the Iberian Peninsula, Phoenician groups settled in trade colonies on the southern coastline in the 9thcentury BCE, utilising rural hinterlands for farming and extracting Mineral ores from the interior mountain ranges (Aubet Semmler, 2008; Dietler and López-Ruiz, 2009). The processes of dissemination of elements from a Mediterranean koinedeveloped into the eclectic “orientalising” material culture styles of the southern Iberian Iron Age (Celestino Pérez and López-Ruiz, 2016).In and around these Phoenician colonies, workshops appeared that utilised the potter’s wheel and double-chambered updraught kilns to produce vast quantities of luxury tableware as well as containers for trade goods (Mielke and Torres Ortiz, 2012; Mielke, 2015). In the centuries that followed, the production of wheel-made pottery expanded across the Iberian Peninsula, outside of context of the Phoenician colonial system (Ramón Torres et al., 2007; Delgado Hervás, 2011; García Vargas and García Fernández, 2012; Fernández Maroto, 2013; Jiménez Avila, 2013; Mielke and Torres Ortiz, 2012; Sáez Romero et al., 2021). Despite strong evidence for the growing production and use of wheel-made pottery outside of the Phoenician colonies, particularly after the 7thcentury BCE (Coll Conesa, 2000), there are still many gaps in our knowledge of the process by which this workshop mode of production developed, how it Volume XII ● Issue 2/2021 ● Pages 331–342*Corresponding author. E-mail: INFOArticle history:Received: 22th February 2021Accepted: 24thOctober 2021DOI: words:Iberian PeninsulaIron Ageceramic raw materialsPhoenicianspotter’s wheeltechnologyhybridityABSTRACTThis paper discusses the role of clay selection and preparation in the production of wheel-made pottery in Early Iron Age southern Iberia. The frst systematic use of potter’s wheels in the production of Early Iron Age ceramics in southern Iberia corresponds to the establishment of pottery workshops associated with Phoenician trade colonies, dating to the period between the end of the 10thand 7thcentury BCE. There are still many gaps in our understanding of how technological knowledge was transmitted between the Phoenician workshops and “indigenous’ communities that adopted the potter’s wheel. This paper draws upon a growing body of archaeometric and ceramic technological research to consider clay selection strategies in these new workshops. Secondly, this paper will consider the role of ceramic raw materials in the development of new “hybrid’ ceramic forms, particularly grey-ware. It will hereby provide theoretical considerations surrounding the signifcance of material cultural hybridity in answering questions raised by postcolonial archaeologists about identity, cultural transmission and hybridisation in the context of the Phoenician colonial system.
image/svg+xmlIANSA 2021 ● XII/2 ● 331–342Beatrijs G. de Groot: Material Methods; Considering Ceramic Raw Materials and the Spread of the Potter‘s Wheel in Early Iron Age Southern Iberia332spread and how its adoption afected existing craft traditions in the Iberian Peninsula.1This paper focuses on a specifc area of the chaîne opératoireof early wheel-made pottery; the selection and preparation of clays, in order to address questions surrounding the development of knowledge about suitable clay and temper recipes for the production of wheel-made pottery. Recent research has provided detailed insights into the production process, or chaîne opératoire, of ceramics produced in the Phoenician-tradition workshops (Sáez Romero et al., 2021), evidence which is important for reconstructing the spread of technological information relating to ceramic production across southern Iberia. By comparing data from a growing body of archaeometric research, this paper draws out some general conclusions surrounding the way in which the new pottery workshops built upon, or replaced, traditional knowledge about clay recipes. Particular attention will be paid to the premise, informed by ethnoarchaeological literature, that clay selection and preparation are often a cultural “choice”, rather than an economic or environmentally determined solution. This paper addresses the diferent factors that might infuence clay selection strategies for the production of wheel-made pottery in the context of Iron Age southern Iberia, investigating the opposition between economic and cultural preferences.To address the above aims, this paper also integrates information about the procurement and preparation of ceramic raw materials into broader philosophical questions surrounding the adoption and rejection of new technologies in Iron Age Iberia. In order to do so it focuses on the development of grey-ware, a class of ceramics that might have developed as a “hybrid” form, imitating hand-made “indigenous” pottery but produced on the potter’s wheel, a technology associated with the Phoenicians. The signifcance of this type of material is analysed by focusing on evidence for the origin of its ceramic raw materials to understand the mixing of technological knowledge and visual style more fully.I take the regions of southern Iberia near the Phoenician colonies as my primary case-study because “orientalising” material culture and technology has been strongly infuential in this area (omitting Extremadura due to a lack of published archaeometric studies on early wheel-made pottery in this region). This includes the “Tartessian” area, the area of present-day Andalucía, as well as Southern Portugal and Lisbon. The time-period discussed is restricted to the frst appearance of Phoenician settlements to the period immediately after the so-called “crisis” in the mid-6thcentury BCE.1The complexity of the processes of interaction underpinning the spread of potter’s wheels is emphasised by the suggestion that rotational devices were used from the Final Bronze Age onwards in Central Iberia at El Castro de Cogotas during the 9th to 7th century BCE (Padilla-Fernández, 2019).2. Clay selection and preparation; cultural or economic choice?With the growing importance of post-processual frameworks in archaeology, the development of archaeological thought about the use of raw materials has shifted from a focus on functional properties to culturally informed, transmitted knowledge. Instead of striving for a “best way” in the development of technological practices, research into the chaîne opératoireof ceramic production demonstrates that there are numerous equivalent methods to produce ceramics (e.g., Dobres, 1999; Roux, 2019) and that such variation can refect the technological styles (e.g., Lechtman, 1977) of diferent social groups. Technological variation can therefore be used to explore questions of cultural transmission and agency (e.g., Pauketat, 2001).In the context of raw material selection and preparation, the earliest steps in the chaîne opératoire of ceramic production, ethnographic studies demonstrate that technological practices might not be deliberately selected, as if choosing the appropriate tool or practice for the task at hand “from a catalogue” (Gosselain, 1992). Instead, the composition of ceramic pastes can refect the preferences and material knowledge of potters, which are shaped by socially-transmitted conventions (e.g., Gosselain, 1992; Livingstone Smith, 2000; Pauketat, 2001). Spatio-temporal patterns in the similarity of clay recipes can therefore provide insights into the strategies of – and relationships between – contemporary potting traditions, as well as informing a discussion on the long-term development of material knowledge.Although socially-transmitted information in theory provides an important determining factor in the selection of clay and temper, potters establishing the frst workshops in the Iberian Peninsula will have had to take a number of factors into account. Such workshops will have been part of the Phoenician commercial economy, in which ceramic production ran parallel to other industries to facilitate the production and long-distance trade of goods (see below). The choice of clay and temper formed part of a wide set of demands, such as the proximity of pottery workshops to transport routes and food production sites, which will have afected the choice of raw material source next to personal preference or social conventions. Furthermore, wheel-thrown pottery is generally produced from clay with fne-grained non-plastic inclusions to avoid abrasion of the potter’s hands (Rice, 2015, p.143) or marring and tearing of the pot surface (Sinopoli, 1991, p.101), suggesting that the properties of clays deserve attention in explaining selection.As such, it is important to assess how innovations act as “systems” of related technological choices, raw materials, logistics and economic contexts (e.g., Sillar and Tite, 2000). By providing empirical evidence of continuity or the changes in raw material selection co-occurring with the introduction of the potter’s wheel, mineralogical and archaeometric studies can contribute to understanding the workings of changes in such technological systems. By focussing on the materials from which ceramics were made, it is possible to gain
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