Time and technological change: Ceramic production, labor, and economic transformation in a third millennium complex society (Tell Leilan, Syria)
AuthorSenior, Louise Marie, 1958-
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PublisherThe University of Arizona.
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AbstractThis study investigates changes in ceramics at Tell Leilan, Syria, during three consecutive periods between 2500 and 2200 B.C. These changes co-occur with significant socio-political changes: urbanization of the region and fledgling statehood. The approach developed to examine ceramic change in this work is Ceramic Technical Sequence Analysis (CTSA) which combines the strategies of ceramic ecology, the French technique et culture school, and behavioral archaeology. CTSA is also informed by practice theory; thus, the limitations of previous work in ceramic technology are reduced. This technologically-based work discloses that the ceramic change noted at Leilan is the result of intensified ceramic production, notably faster manufacturing techniques. Estimates of labor costs were attempted through proxy measures of time expended in procuring and processing raw materials, and in pottery production techniques, including vessel formation, decoration and firing. Investigations are ordered according to the chaine operatoires used in ceramic manufacture at Leilan, and each aspect of the chaine operatoire is specifically examined in regard to changes in time expended during manufacture activities. Though archaeologists often inform their research with scientific techniques, this project is atypical in the number of methods applied, as well as the additional information gleaned from interviews with contemporary artisan-craft potters (N > 40). Investigation of multiple lines of evidence, rather than reliance on a single technique, strengthen this study's conclusions. Data were derived from a variety of characterization techniques used in Materials Science and Geosciences. Neutron activation analysis (INAA), systematic refiring tests, examination of petrographic thin sections, strength testing, dilatometry studies (thermal expansion), xeroradiography, observation of and consultation with modern potters and macroscopic examination of artifacts, were used to observe changes in ceramic production between the three stratigraphically delineated temporal phases at Tell Leilan. Not every aspect of chaine operatoire informs equally, nor agrees, on the topic of time expenditure. Vessel forming techniques deduced through "pot reading" of manufacture marks left on vessel surfaces proved to be the most fruitful. Ceramic Technical Sequence Analysis is productive in investigation of ceramic change, and when guided by larger research questions, may provide a link between ceramic- and social change.
Degree ProgramGraduate College