Prehistoric Pottery from Dakhleh Oasis, Egypt [Paperback]

Ashton R. Warfe(Author)

ISBN: 9781785708244 | Published by: Oxbow Books | Series: Dakhleh Oasis Project Monograph | Volume: 18 | Year of Publication: 2017 | 1st | Language: English 144p, H11 x W8.7, b/w and color
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Prehistoric Pottery from Dakhleh Oasis, Egypt


As one of the few surviving artifacts from the late prehistory of northeast Africa, pottery serves as an essential material category by which to explore long-term human development. This book presents a major study on the ceramics recovered from early and mid-Holocene sites in Egypt’s Dakhleh Oasis, which come from 96 registered sites and five other findspots and comprise more than 10,000 sherds. In addition, there is little proxy evidence to support the manufacture of pottery in the form of kilns, clay firedogs, and other firing equipment. None of the ceramic objects come from burials, they derive instead from settlement sites that display evidence of living activities (hut circles, hearths, chipped stone scatters, etc.), or sites for which there is no other evidence of human activity. Through detailed description, classification, and quantification, a detailed cultural sequence has been determined, demonstrating descrete stylistic variations between sites and over time, highlighting growing diversity and innovation in local pottery-making from the late seventh to mid-third millennia cal. BC. These shifts help to refine the characterization of local cultural units within the Holocene sequence for Dakhleh Oasis, and to compare against parallel pottery traditions elsewhere in the desert. A firmer grounding in the oasis ceramics, as detailed here, offers inroads to examine social practices and the interconnectedness of desert groups of the ancient Eastern Sahara.

Table of Contents

Preface and acknowledgements

1. Introduction
1.1 Methodology and structure of study
1.2 Research history on the pottery collection
1.3 Points of clarification

2. Technology, terminology and description
2.1 Methods of analysis
2.2 Fabric description
2.2.1 Groundmass
2.2.2 Inclusions
2.2.3 Technological properties
2.3 Surface treatment description
2.3.1 Plain
2.3.2 Coated
2.3.3 Compacted
2.3.4 Textured
2.3.5 Decorated
2.4 Shape description
2.4.1 Vessel shape
2.4.2 Vessel contour
2.4.3 Proportion
2.4.4 Miscellaneous objects

3. Classification
3.1 Fabric classification
3.1.1 Fabric Family 1: sand-and-shale
3.1.2 Fabric Family 2: shale-rich
3.1.3 Fabric Family 3: sand
3.1.4 Fabric Family 4: vegetal
3.1.5 Fabric Family 5: fine sand and limestone
3.1.6 Fabric Family 6: gypsum
3.1.7 Fabric Family 7: clay aggregates
3.1.8 Fabric Family 8: marls
3.1.9 Fabric Family 9: silts
3.2 Ware classification
3.2.1 Plain (Hp) wares
3.2.2 Compacted (Hm) wares
3.2.3 Coated (Hc) wares
3.2.4 Textured (Hx) wares
3.2.5 Decorated (Hd) wares
3.2.6 Compacted-and-coated (Hmc) wares
3.2.7 Compacted-and-textured (Hmx) wares
3.2.8 Compacted-and-decorated (Hmd) wares
3.2.9 Textured-and-decorated (Hxd) wares

4. Quantitative analysis
4.1 Methods of analysis
4.2 Analysis using multidimensional scaling and similarity percentage
4.3 Accounting for pottery from Masara sites
4.4 Characterising the Bashendi pottery tradition
4.4.1 Bashendi A
4.4.2 Bashendi B
4.5 Accounting for pottery from sites 401, 407, 409, 420, 422 and 423
4.6 Characterising the Sheikh Muftah pottery tradition
4.6.1 Early Sheikh Muftah
4.6.2 Late Sheikh Muftah
4.7 Handmade pottery from sites that are not registered on the Holocene prehistory index
4.8 Handmade pottery from findspots

5. Long-term change in the ceramic record
5.1 Summary of fabrics
5.2 Summary of surface treatments
5.3 Summary of vessel forms: shape and size
5.4 Comments on ware and shape cross-tabulation

6. Provenance
6.1 Distinguishing locally made and imported pottery
6.2 Thin-section analysis (by MARK ECCLESTON)

7. Conclusions
7.1 Pottery variation and classification: reaching a compromise
7.2 Towards a better understanding of the early and mid-Holocene cultural units
7.3 Future directions for study



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