Fields, Sherds and Scholars. Recording and Interpreting Survey Ceramics (Hardback)
This book is a significant contribution to the field of survey pottery studies, which is not frequently theorised, and could also serve as a guide and provide inspiration to archaeologists designing their own survey projects and methodologies. Landscape archaeology has heavily relied on pedestrian survey as a field method for more than half a century. In most field projects, archaeological ceramics constitute the lion’s share among the finds and the amount of collected sherds is overwhelming. Survey ceramics provide the basis for understanding human activity in a landscape, and sherds serve as convenient chronological markers for the archaeological sites discovered in field projects. However, how this pottery is collected and studied determines the possibilities for using the sherds as a source material. Not only the collection practices, but also the process and practicalities of ceramic analysis are rarely made explicit, even though the archaeological interpretations of human activity in the landscape strongly rely on it. Most contributions in this volume provide an insight in collection, processing and interpretation practices in a specific survey project, and we hope this transparency is inspiring and contributes to a better understanding of surface ceramics as a basis for historical interpretations. Three themes run as a red thread through the contributions in this book: first of all transparency in ceramic collecting, processing and interpretation, secondly, improving diagnosticity, and thirdly, expanding the interpretive potential of survey ceramics. The chapters are geographically oriented towards Greece and Italy, two countries in which archaeological surface survey is widely practised. Chronologically, the contributions range from the Bronze Age to the Medieval period.