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Prehistoric Pottery Analysis

The analysis of prehistoric ceramics allows archaeologists to construct cultural sequences, reconstruct daily life, investigate patterns of long-distance exchange, and examine questions of social inequality. We perform ceramic analyses for cultural resource management and research projects. These are aimed at answering archaeological questions that fit the needs of our clients. Our staff is knowledgeable and has years of experience in the excavation and analysis of Southeastern ceramics.

Ceramic services offered by the Archaeological Research Laboratory (ARL) include:

  • sherdIdentification of vessel form, function, and design
  • Identification of manufacturing techniques
  • Typology and seriation
  • Quantitative recording of metric attributes
  • Comparisons with regional ceramic sequences to place the assemblage into chronological and cultural context
  • Packaging to match nearly any curation standards
  • Access to our online database

Collections housed at the University of Tennessee’s McClung Museum provide a unique resource to aid in regional comparisons. These collections come from over 70 years of archaeological research and allow detailed analysis and meaningful comparisons of ceramics dating from the Early Woodland to Historic Cherokee periods.

The ceramics lab is equipped with:

  • ceramicsNesting sieves for size grading and sorting
  • A cleaning area, including drying racks
  • Up to 6 workstations linked to our on-line database. Each station is equipped with a set of digital calipers and a digital scale
  • A microscope for closely inspecting paste, temper, inclusions, surface treatment
  • A refitting area.
  • A photo lab
  • Immersion MicroScribe G2 digitizer

ARL Staff

  • Brad Creswell

Consulting Staff

  • Charles Faulkner Ph.D
  • Lynn Sullivan Ph.D, Frank H. McClung Museum; Southeastern Archaeology, Mississippian Chiefdoms, Archaeological Curation

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