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by Archaeology Newsroom

Making Earthenware: Invention and adoption

The article deals with the question of the outset of making earthernware and investigates the factors/circumstances that led to the introduction of pottery in human communities as well as the reason of their extensive adoption. These factors are sought in the magic-symbolic-ritual field: it is argued that the first earthenware of baked clay was made not for any practical necessity, been already served by various other materials, but because of the very nature of clay; it could function as a vehicle of symbolisms relating the vessel and its use with the human body and at the same time could be shaped in refined forms most appropriate for ritual use. The reason can be found in the relevant bibliography that refers to the advantages, both practical (cooking utensils and storing vessels) and economic, the earthenware has given to communities. Finally, it is suggested that agriculture and permanent settlement have favored the adoption of this new technique.