Dating pottery shards
For example, sherds may be categorized as rim sherds, body sherds, and/or base sherds.Rim sherds are fragments of a vessel's rim, while base sherds are fragments of the vessel's base.The current consensus seems to be that the West Room was likely constructed in the early to mid 1800s, so, it possible, some of the pottery vessels were in use elsewhere, first.Shards of pottery dating back 18,000 years have been unearthed in a cave in Hunan province, southern China.My best, although very inexperienced, guesses for usage would be that it was either once a part of a water pitcher, or, if the West Room did, in fact, serve as a smith, at some point, that it was used to hold water for cooling hot iron.
In a new study, physicist Elisabetta Boaretto of the Weizmann Institute of Science in Rehovot, Israel, and archaeologist Xiaohong Wu of Peking University in Beijing and their colleagues show that humans were making containers out of fired clay even earlier than was previously thought.The complex layers of ash, clay and gravel make the sites difficult to analyse and it has been hard to find pure samples of organic material such as charcoal and bone for carbon dating."In environments in which there is a lot of ash, charcoal doesn't preserve well, and throughout China there are deposits of windborne dust that contain a lot of calcite, an element of wood ash," explains Boaretto's colleague Steve Weiner, of the Kimmel Center for Archeological Science at the Weizmann Institute.While all types of sherds carry valuable information, rim sherds and base sherds are especially informative because they allow archaeologists to determine the shape of the original object.By comparing pottery sherds found in the three Unit 6 SUs, we were able to determine that the three SUs date back to nearly the same time, as we found matching and similar pottery sherds across the SUs.
The largest piece of pottery we found in this unit was a large rim piece with red paste and brown lead opaque enameling, which, by its texture, appears to be hand thrown.