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Ceramic Standardization and Intensity of Production: Quantifying Degrees of Specialization

  • Valentine Roux (a1)

The aim of this study is to examine the relationship between metric variability of ceramic vessels of a single type and intensity of production. This relationship is examined on the basis of vessels made by Indian and Spanish potters whose rates of production vary from low to high. Results are compared with Filipino data to embrace different cultures and therefore possibly different emic conceptions of standardization. We conclude that rate of production affects the degree of standardization. However, only in a high-rate production situation do we have motor habits that transcend emic conceptions of standardization. Indeed, factors like size classes, emic conception of size classes, and skill may induce a certain variability despite similar rates of production. Indexing degrees of standardization needs, in other respects, to take into account the cumulative effect of production events that play on the CV (Coefficient of Variation) values. Applied to Mesopotamian data, our results suggest that third millennium ceramic production can be compared to low-rate production observed ethnographically.


El propósito de este estudio es analizar la relación entre la variabilidad mé trica de las vasijas de un solo tipo cerámico y la intensidad de la producción. Esta relación se estudia a partir de una serie de piezas manufacturadas por alfareros de la India y de España cuya producción puede variar en cantide de baja a alta. Los resultados se comparan con datos de los filipinos para abarcar diferentes culturas y, por lo tanto, posibles diferencias en conceptos émicos de estandarización. Concluimos que la tasa de producción incide en el nivel de estandarización. Sin embargo, solamente en case de una tasa alta de producción hay habitos de manufactura que transcienden los conceptos émicos de estandarización. En efecto, factores como las clases de dimensiones, los conceptos émicos del tamaño y la destreza del artesano producen cierta variabilidad a pesar de que haya tasas similares de producción. Para medir los grades de estandarización se requiere, entre otros aspectos, tomar en cuenta el efecto acumulativo de los eventos de producción sobre los valores del CV (coeficiente de variación). Al aplicar estos resultados a los datos de Mesopotamia, se cuenta con bases para plantear que la producción de ceramica en el tercer milenio puede ser comparada con una producción de nivel bajo tal como se lo ha observado en contextos etnográficos.

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American Antiquity
  • ISSN: 0002-7316
  • EISSN: 2325-5064
  • URL: /core/journals/american-antiquity
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