Pottery Washing

Today Rohana and Stephanie spent the day washing most of the pottery that they have found in their feature of the trench. The pit is located in the central area between ditches and a possible oven area. The pit is characterized by darker soil and a rocky patch on the surface. There was a burnt patch in the soil right where an animal skull had been. Sadly the skull was not well preserved and only the teeth were in good shape. This side of the pit also had some iron lining. The other end of the pit had a trove of pottery sherds. It only took Rohana about an hour to fill half a tray with pottery and it did not stop there. There were many rim sherds and finally we found a base sherd. It looks like many of the pieces could probably be from the same pot as they are mostly all the same type (black ware). 

To wash artifacts you need a small tub of water, a small brush (tooth brushes are ideal) and a tray to put the clean artifacts in to dry. You dunk the artifact in the water and brush the flat surfaces and all of the edges to get the dirt off. The most important thing to remember to do is to put a context label in the tray so everyone knows where the artifacts came from. Washing pottery is a pretty simple process but it is fun for some people. Rohana and I really enjoyed it. We did not get a final count but we are sure we had at least 8 trays done and definitely way over 100 pieces. A lot of the sherds were about a quarter size and not very impressive but we washed them in case someone decides to try and put the pot back together.

Today was also the first day with a bit of rain while at the dig site. Good news for our trench which is very parched making the features hard to see.

Rohana washing pottery
Rohana washing pottery
Stephanie washing pottery
Stephanie washing pottery

3 thoughts on “Pottery Washing

  1. Great job Stephanie and Rohanna – perhaps you’ll get the chance to try and see if any of your sherds might join? I guess it is only fair to have to wash your own pottery – a good way to learn fabrics and surface treatments and all that can tell you about specific wares and pottery production.

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