The Analysis of Temper in Earthenware from Archaeological Sites
52 Pages Posted: 4 May 2018
Date Written: September 15, 1971
This study was submitted in partial fulfillment of the requirements for an MA degree in Anthropology at the University of Otago, Dunedin, New Zealand. This analysis is from pottery refuse shards from two Thai sites excavated in the 1960s.
1. Non Nok Tha, from a site with occupation lasting around 7000 years, excavated by Don Bayard, then at the University of Hawaii. The Archaeological excavation of the site was in two periods, 1966 and 1968. This analysis was from pottery excavated in the second period. From 12 natural layers excavated, eleven cultural levels established three periods of occupation
1. Ban Tha Nen, around 100 miles away, where four levels were established from 17 cultural layers. This analysis was only from pottery in levels two and three. This was from about 300 A.D. to the end of the 15th century. This site was excavated by Ham Parker, University of Otago.
Overall, 19 varieties of temper were observed. Some tempers such as laterite, coarse chaff and no temper, were associated with a certain thickness of wares at Ban Tha Nen. The noticeable appearance there in Level three were other small quantities of wares with temper such as soft chaff, and minor sand tempers. But there were consistently large quantities of wares with temper such as the soft sand and ‘clay and sand’. These tempers indicate the majority of pottery level three was locally produced and less sensitive to the varying levels of external contact. Changes in market demand for certain wares were the major cause of variation in temper usages.
In contrast, at Non Nok Tha, Period C was a long stable period of occupation with consistent usage of the same tempers throughout the sequence. It was a sharp increase in the use of laterite and hard chaff towards the end of period in levels three and four. This may have coincided with a period of increasing external contact.
Keywords: Clay, Temper, Earthenware, Thailand, Archaeology
JEL Classification: Z00
Suggested Citation: Suggested Citation