Containers of Change (Paperback)
Ancient Container Technologies from Eastern to Western Asia
Across Western Asia, the astonishing increase in the availability of durable ceramic containers in the seventh millennium BCE had significant societal repercussions – so much so that vital social, economic, and symbolic activities became dependent upon the availability of pottery containers. These early ceramic containers, however, established themselves alongside flourishing pre-existing container traditions, with vessels made in a wide range of materials including clay, bitumen, basketry, leather, wood, and stone. How did prehistoric people respond to the emergence of containers as a key factor in their lives? Building on Olivier Nieuwenhuyse’s rich scholarly legacy, this volume brings together 18 papers by leading scholars in the field of container technology, discussing cases from eastern Asia to Africa, but with a focus on prehistoric Western Asia. Looking not just at pottery but also explicitly beyond, the contributions consider and address the cross-overs of different kinds of raw materials for containers and their crafting; the multiplicity of temporal scales in the production, use and discard of pottery; the social anchoring of vessels’ use and deposition as evident in their specific contexts; and local as well as regional variations in early pottery.