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Ceramics of Ancient AmericaMultidisciplinary Approaches$
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Yumi Park Huntington, Dean E. Arnold, and Johanna Minich

Print publication date: 2018

Print ISBN-13: 9780813056067

Published to Florida Scholarship Online: May 2019

DOI: 10.5744/florida/9780813056067.001.0001

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A New Approach to Pre-Columbian Pottery

A New Approach to Pre-Columbian Pottery

Introduction to the Volume

(p.1) 1 A New Approach to Pre-Columbian Pottery
Ceramics of Ancient America

Dean E. Arnold

Yumi Park Huntington

Johanna Minich

University Press of Florida

Clay is the most malleable raw material used by many cultures across the world. Its fired product, ceramics, are commonly studied by archaeologists, art historians, and anthropologists. This introductory chapter describes the various perspectives and how these disciplines study the ceramics of ancient America and the cultures that produced them. Bringing together a variety of approaches and terminologies used by these three disciplines, this chapter reveals the complementarity of the differences of these varied approaches. Since ceramic objects constitute part of the history and identity of a specific group of people, it is also important to consider the archaeological ethics of studying Pre-Columbian ceramics, especially how archaeologists and art historians perform authentication and respect cultural heritage. Summarizing the unique properties of ceramics, the operational sequences of their production, and considerations of both human and material agency, the chapter also shows how recognizing various ceramic production sequences (chaîn opératoire) enables reconstruction of ancient societies through different disciplines. This multidisciplinary approach provides a more comprehensive understanding of ceramics than possible with any single discipline.

Keywords:   cultural heritage, authentication, ceramics, Pre-Columbian ceramics, Ancient America

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