What’s in a Pot? Lessons from Native American Pottery

What’s in a Pot? Lessons from Native American Pottery By: Bob Genheimer, George Rieveschl Curator of Archaeology Because most Native American pottery we discover through excavations or surface collections is broken into small pieces called sherds, people often ask us “what can those pieces tell us?” As it turns out quite a lot! By focusing on clues such as what’s on the surface, what part of the entire pot it is, how it is tempered and even how it broke, archaeologists can learn quite a bit. The first thing that a ceramic analyst looks at is the temper material. Most fired clay pottery requires the use of a tempering agent (small, solid pieces of material) to mitigate the effects of heat and shrinkage on the clay. Native Americans used a variety of tempering materials during the roughly two millennia that they fired clay vessels. […]

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Flake-Stone Artifacts

Archaeology is complex, multifaceted and diverse. Items of material culture are no exception as a nearly countless suite of artifacts were manufactured by prehistoric native Americans through the addition, combination and subtraction of raw materials such as stone, clay, bone, shell, wood and plant fibers.

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The Fossil Fish That Could

On December 21, 2020, Governor Mike DeWine signed Ohio Senate Bill No. 123 into law, thus designating Dunkleosteus terrelli as the Fossil Fish of Ohio. Not every state needs an official fossil fish, of course, but if you had to have one, Dunkleosteus (Dunk–ul–AHS–tee–us) might well be it, and no fish is more deserving when it comes to Ohio.

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Digging Dinosaurs!

In order to dig dinosaurs, you must first really dig dinosaurs. That is, like them a lot, because the physical digging/excavating/collecting of dinosaurs is not for the faint-hearted. It’s a grueling, exhausting, painful exercise in self-denial – until such time as the precious fossils are finally secured in the museum collection or exhibit hall.

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Cincinnati’s Vanished Yellow Wares

Their yellow colors were bright and cheerful, a sharp contrast to their dull sanitary and kitchenware predecessors – redwares and stonewares. Nineteenth-century American yellow wares, earthenwares with a buff paste and a clear glaze, were both functional and inexpensive. In most cases, they were the product of an assembly line process – a system that attempted to standardize output using relatively cheap raw materials and labor.

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