Searching for Structure in Pottery Analysis addresses the theoretical and methodological imperatives involved in (re)integrating descriptive, structural, and compositional analytical methods through the contributions of a diverse range of experts in archaeological pottery. It draws on the life’s work of Cyril Stanley Smith, a pioneering materials scientist who brought the focus on structure to studies of a variety of archaeological materials. The contributors examine those forms of analysis that investigate structural characteristics of ceramics, and the methodologies that link such structural characteristics with the typological and compositional data that compose the majority of evidence in contemporary ceramic analyses.
The first section of the book focuses on how the practices of ceramic production and the structures they generate enable inferences about the social relations between producers and consumers of pottery. The second section investigates on the role structure plays in the refraction and maintenance of different forms of social grouping and identity. Together, the two themes serve as the orientation for a broad set of heuristic and technical tools. These tools have the potential to alter how archaeologists extract and identify the social information captured in the properties of pottery and transform contemporary understandings of the different roles ceramics played in past societies.