Typology dating techniques

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When we have an entire or even a large fragment of a ceramic vessel, we can often determine the shape of the vessel or the type and method of production of the design on the vessel.Both of these characteristics are also used to narrow down a date range.This is true of large fragments or whole vessels, but when it comes to small fragments with limited design or decoration on them, like using the porosity of the paste in historic ceramics.Archaeologists must use the temper type to determine where the pottery originated or if it could help identify what group occupied a site when combined with other evidence.It is these changes in how the ceramics were produced that created subtle clues to help the discerning eye determine the specific type of ceramic.In the case of ceramics it can be difficult to identify creamware from pearlware, whiteware and others, but through previous research we know that the paste in creamware is more porous than that of the others and that the glaze is often pooled with a green tint in crevices.Handaxes for example are found in some assemblages stratigraphically dated to the middle palaeolithic and associated with Neanderthals.

Today many vessels can be easily identified with the use of this typology because there are so many different styles, each of which is attributed to different culture groups and periods.Dating methods for prehistoric ceramics are dependent on typologies which were developed through careful analysis of such attributes as temper, decoration, design and form.For many native groups’ specific tempers, forms, designs and/or decorations have been attributed.These were used to classify assemblages particularly in the middle palaeolithic in France called Mousterian And so we have Quina mousterian, Denticulte Mousterian and so on.Discoveries of similar tools types in different geographical and time periods have led to the abandonment of this approach to more dynamic studies of all aspects of an assemblage as exemplified by the Chaîne opératoire approach.

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