image/svg+xml115XII/2/2021INTERDISCIPLINARIA ARCHAEOLOGICANATURAL SCIENCES IN ARCHAEOLOGYhomepage: http://www.iansa.euThe Ancient Greek Potter’s Wheel: Experimental Archaeology and Web Applications for Velocity AnalysisBrandon Neth1, Eleni Hasaki1*1University of Arizona, Tuscon, Arizona 85721, United States of America1. Introduction: General trends of potter’s wheel researchAs the potter’s wheel is central to the operation of a pottery workshop, archaeologists have attempted to extract as much information as possible from the device, the user, and the fnished product. In this section, we capture a few of the major aspects that wheel research has covered within the scope of the Greek prehistoric and historical periods. The general trends can be grouped into four major categories:1.1 The wheel apparatusIn this category we consider four subsets:1) The study of archaeological remains (mostly of wheelheads, as no entire wheel apparatus has survived from Greek antiquity; Evely, 2000; Hasaki, 2019; Rotrof, 2006).2) The rather well-known list of two dozen depictions of Athenian, Corinthian, and Boeotian ceramics that depict potters working at the wheel (Hadjidimitriou, 2005; Hasaki, 2019; Stissi, 2002; Vidale, 2002; Williams, 2019) (Figure 1).3) A small number of Greek and Latin literary references in epics and philosophical works praising the skill and patience of ancient potters, and claiming Athens and Corinth as the birthplaces of the potter’s wheel (Cuomo di Caprio, 2017; Hasaki, 2019). Two well-known references attest to the arduous wheel apprenticeship based on observation and participation method:“Did you never observe in the arts how the potters’ boys (sons) look on and help, long before they touch the wheel?” (Plato, Republic 5.467a) “Is not this, as they say, to learn the potter’s craft by undertaking a pithos…and does not this seem to you a foolish thing to do?” (Plato, Gorgias 514e)Volume XII ● Issue 2/2021 ● Pages 115–125*Corresponding author. E-mail: hasakie@email.arizona.eduARTICLE INFOArticle history:Received: 11thFebruary 2021Accepted: 7thOctober 2021DOI: words:potter’s wheelancient GreeceMediterraneanvisualizationvelocity measurementweb applicationABSTRACTThe potter’s wheel is central to the understanding of ancient technology, knowledge transfer, and social complexity. With scant evidence of potter’s wheels from antiquity, experimental projects with replica potter’s wheels can help researchers address larger questions on ceramic production. One such set of experiments, performed using the Ancient Greek wheel replica in Tucson modelled on Athenian and Corinthian iconographic evidence, provided useful insight into the qualitative experience of ancient potters. In past experiments, the quantitative analysis of the throwing sessions included data on wheel velocity which had been collected collected over large intervals, comprising entire stages of the throwing process. While this method provides an overview of rotational speed, a continuous velocity graph provides a clearer picture collected data on wheel velocity. To address this, we developed a web application (WheelVis; to aid in the velocity analysis of experimental potter’s wheels. Users provide a recording of the throwing session and while advancing through the recording, they mark points where the wheel has completed rotations. Using the time intervals between these points, the tool reconstructs a graph of the velocity of the wheel throughout the throwing session. This innovative application provides fast, fne-grained velocity information, and helps archaeologists answer questions about the physical properties of their experimental replicas or wheels used in traditional workshops. Future development of the application will include contextual partitions to allow users to split the throw into diferent stages, enabling further analysis into the throwing process. Moreover, intelligent error detection would notify users when a mark is likely to be made in error and allow them to correct their mistake.
image/svg+xmlIANSA 2021 ● XII/2 ● 115–125Brandon Neth, Eleni Hasaki: The Ancient Greek Potter’s Wheel: Experimental Archaeology and Web Applications for Velocity Analysis116These passages also convey successfully the well-structured framework of potters learning to proceed from smaller to larger vessels in the course of such apprenticeships apprenticeships.4) The ever-increasing number of experimental replicas of prehistoric and historic wheels (for example, a Minoan-type wheel, or a Classical Athenian potter’s wheel; Evely and Morrison, 2010; Hasaki, 2019; Morrison and Park, 2007–2009).1.2 The wheel and the fnished potTo produce a pot, multiple rotary devices and multiple forming techniques are involved. A fast wheel for throwing a pot is just one of the many possible variations. For over 20 years, scholars have worked hard on identifying specifc marks left on a pot “thrown on a wheel”, situating the potter’s wheel within the wider spectrum of rotary devices, from turntables to fast wheels (Eiteljorg, 1980; Courty and Roux, 1995; Roux and Courty, 1998). A refned terminology for capturing the various combinations of rotary-surface and forming methods has enhanced our understanding of this crucial stage and made us realise how fundamental such distinctions are, as for example the importance of Rotational Kinetic Energy in producing a wheel-thrown pot; (Choleva, 2012; Choleva, 2020). For the Greek ceramics, emphasis has been paid on the turning marks on the underside of pots for establishing the direction (clockwise or counterclockwise) of the ancient Greek wheel (Schreiber, 1983; 1999).1.3 The wheel and the potterExtensive ethnographic research has focused on the use of a potter’s wheel by a potter; with the use of video recordings, computer modelling, and statistical analysis, scholars have expanded the scope of questions to cover topics such as standardization, apprenticeship length and structure (Roux and Corbetta, 1989; Hasaki, 2012; Hasaki, 2019; Langdon,