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Ceramic studies: examining the full spectrum

  • Rob A. Ixer (a1)

These three books range from the clinical (Hunt) to the folksy (Woodward and Hill), and might be seen as a progression. One travelling from the Hunt-edited encyclopaedia with its emphasis on new and exotic scientific analytical techniques, rigorous theoretical approaches and data analysis, through the Integrative approaches book using techniques and ideas that have proved effective for decades (this book is firmly within the mainstream of recent excellent pot books that have a very strong US contribution, as exemplified by Quinn 2009), to the English, and almost quaint, re-issue of Woodward and Hill outlining post-processualist concerns and quite devoid of any black box ‘gee-whiz’. Their combined 1200 pages, heavily featuring petrography, often alongside geochemistry, show that these sorts of ceramic studies, although often regarded as comatose-inducing, are in favour again.

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Ixer, R.A., Williams-Thorpe, O., Bevins, R.E. & Chambers, A.C.. 2004. A comparison between ‘total petrography’ and geochemistry using portable X-ray fluorescence as provenancing tools for some Midlands axeheads, in Walker, E.A., Wenban-Smith, F. & Healy, F. (ed.) Lithics in action (Lithics Studies Society Occasional Paper 8): 105–15. Oxford: Oxbow.
Quinn, P. 2009. Interpreting silent artefacts: petrographic approaches to archaeological ceramics. Oxford: Archaeopress.
Whitbread, I.K. 1986. The characterisation of argillaceous inclusions in ceramic thin sections. Archaeometry 28: 7988.
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  • ISSN: 0003-598X
  • EISSN: 1745-1744
  • URL: /core/journals/antiquity
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