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Pottery

Patched Pots
by Jim Cherry, Fayetteville, Arkansas
Originally Published in the Central States Archaeological Journal, Vol.55, No.4, pg.224
For over 25 years, I have researched head pots by visiting many museums as well as pri­vate collections. As a by-product of this re­search, I have had the opportunity to examine many thousands of pottery vessels. Interest­ingly, I have come across three examples of prehistoric "patching." To my knowledge, this has not been previously reported.
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Fig 1.

On rare occasions bowls or jars are found that were prehistorically repaired by drill­ing holes on both sides of a crack. The crack was then presumably tied together. Repair of these three vessels is different because they show the application of clay paste to the dam­aged area.

The first example ( figures 1 and 2 ) is from Greenbriar Bottoms, 3IN1, Independence County, Arkansas. The pictured area of patch­ing is darker than the surrounding pottery. This area appears to have flaked off during the initial firing process. A piece of the flake was then placed in the central portion of the patch, and the vessel re-fired. This patch is does not involve the inside surface of the pot.

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Fig 2.

A Fortune Noded jar ( figure 3 ) from the Big Eddy site, 3 SF9, in Saint Francis Coun­ty had a hole occur through one side dur­ing manufacturing. This was repaired by placement of a patch that involves the inner and outer surfaces of the pot. The nodes were not reshaped, which makes the patch all the more obvious.

The third example is a human effigy vessel from the Roseland site, 3MS55, Mississippi after the drying phase of manufacture. When lifted for firing, the bottom stuck to whatever the pot was resting on, and a large area pulled off. Similar to the previous two examples, the patch is smooth, and the right lower leg on the bottom of the vessel was not remodeled.

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Fig 3.

 

"Used by Permission of the Author"
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