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Last week before GSW, I spent several pollen-choked hours in Rock Creek Park, Giga Panning some of the rocks of the Rock Creek Shear Zone.
Besides the classic field interactions with sherds during survey and excavation, we have been exploring a variety of laboratory approaches to ceramics, such as petrography, experimental reproductions, Atomic Absorption Spectrophotometry (AAS), and X-ray Fluorescence (XRF).
Were potters traveling with raw materials or finished vessels? Or did they not bring anything with them and make new vessels with local materials?
It is not simple to identify potting ingredients from archaeological sherds.
Here’s a sample from the Smithsonian Institution’s National Museum of Natural History in DC: As the label says, we have a nice example of ptygmatic (“intestine like”) buckle folding here. The coarse equigranular crystals in the vein appear to be mainly potassium feldspar and quartz. Note the cuspate “flames” of matrix between the broad “lobes” of folded … In spite of the congested conditions in both the local atmosphere and my sinuses, I felt compelled to add my voice and presence to the March for Science, an event that was probably the first of its kind since the Enlightenment, aiming to push back against anti-science attitudes from the current occupant of the White House and his contemporaries on Capitol Hill. I got a special treat the week before last – one of my students this semester works at the Geophysical Laboratory of the Carnegie Institution in Washington, DC.
During our unit on igneous rocks, he was prompted by the “Bowen’s reaction series” discussion to let me know that Norman Bowen’s notebooks were still extant at the Carnegie.