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Making Pots and Potters in the Bronze Age Maros Villages of Kiszombor-Új-Élet and Klárafalva-Hajdova

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  09 October 2008

Kostalena Michelaki
McMaster University, Department of Anthropology, 1280 Main St West, Hamilton, Ont., L8S 4L9, Canada; Email:


This article examines the choices potters made while collecting and preparing their raw materials, forming, finishing and firing their pots in the Bronze Age villages of Kiszombor-Új-Élet (2600–2000 cal. bc) and Klárafalva-Hajdova (2000–1650 cal. bc) in present-day southeastern Hungary. Following the one-thousand-year-long ceramic tradition of these villagers, known archaeologically as members of the Maros group, I highlight choices that were shared by all, suggesting deeply engrained ideas about how Maros pots should be made, versus choices that were more restricted in distribution, suggesting a smaller group of potters, of greater skill and possibly greater status within the villages. I argue that, although pot making was one of many small-scale housekeeping tasks, the creation and use of pottery were integrally tied to expressions of status and identity, and that by the Late Maros Phase the identity of ‘potter’ was acknowledged by the community as distinct from other identities, such as those of ‘metalworker’, or ‘weaver’.

Research Article
Copyright © The McDonald Institute for Archaeological Research 2008

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