Thursday, April 27, 2017

Poking Bear with Stick (Tsuneki, Nieuwenhuyse, Campbell, 2017)

I haven't been able to read through the full, unwashed-masses, free section of this book "The Emergence of Pottery in West Asia", but from what I've read so far, the general theme appears to be exploding the lazy and uncourageous notion of 'independent' pottery invention in the West Asia (although they write modestly with careful statements)

It seemed pretty obvious after reading Jordan and Zvelebil's book "Ceramics Before Farming:  The Dispersal of Pottery Among Prehistoric Eurasia Hunter-Gatherers" that vitrified ceramic technology diffused, at least, from the Far East where it was exceptionally refined and old (as pottery).  I've personally witnessed this in museums of East Asia and there is no doubt in my mind, that all vitrified pots used by humans originate there.

I continue to believe that this diffusion was mediated by population movements or networks across Central Asia and I think that that picture is slowly fleshing out in the archaeogenetic record of the Baltic and Volga regions as early ceramics seem herald migration to some degree.

Several interesting facts regarding West Asian pottery is that its incipient phase is often fine, sometime painted, and functionally non-essential.  It spreads quickly over a very large area with almost no experimentation phase.  It doesn't cook new foods, it doesn't store things, it doesn't do old things better, it's not easier to make.  In many early places it appears imported, if only a short distance.  After this early ceramic phase, it is replaced by technical "crap" before evolving again and then surpassing its origin.


  1. Thank you! Will try to order this book! Interesting that "corded" shows up in different Cultures and eras(Jomon Culture to North Central European Corded Ware Culture) Also, hope to find out more about the Elshanka Culture from Central Asia moving into Eastern Europe(Russia) in approximately 6500 BCE. Was the Elshanka Culture an early from of Pit Comb Ceramics? Or did the Elshanka Culture influence Pre-Yamnaya ceramics?

    1. Do you mean the Jordan and Zvelebil book?

    2. Both sound interesting.

    3. I have the full version of the first one if you​ need it