A Study of the Pottery Remains From Early and Mid-Holocene Sites in Dakhleh Oasis, Egypt

2019-02-18T02:30:42Z (GMT) by Ashten R. Warfe
This study seeks to define the relationship between the pottery remains from early and mid-Holocene sites in Dakhleh Oasis, Egypt, and the cultural setting in which they were produced and used. The main themes addressed include the nature of prehistoric hunter-gatherer/-herder economic and social practices, the role of pottery in maintaining and reinforcing these practices, and how to properly assess this using the archaeological record from a desert environment.
An important focus of the study concerns the extent to which patterns of social interaction in pre historic Northeast Africa were influential on the emergence and early development of pottery in Dakhleh Oasis. This focus is partly motivated by what is considered a dearth of critical research on the earliest pottery from Northeast Africa. As a way of redressing this, the current study proposes a more rounded approach to ceramic studies in the region. Part of this involves the use of analytical techniques that have not yet been applied to the research on early Northeast African pottery.
The primary analys is of ceramic data from Dakhleh has indicated that the pottery industry developed in important ways over the mid·Holocene period. A key premise of this study is that, in order to properly interpret these developments, it is necessary to acquire an understanding of how pottery was produced and used. It is also important to consider what pottery represented for the oasis inhabitants.
For a preliminary insight on these issues the ceramic record has been examined from a technofunctional standpoint, which involved a survey of the ethnographic data and a series of laboratory experiments testing the strength and heating/cooling efficiency of pottery. For additional insights, the ceramic record has been assessed against other types of archaeological data. To gauge the impact of non-local factors on the pottery industry, a characterisation study was undertaken incorporating the results of thin-section analyses.
This study has important implications for how we interpret the Holocene prehistory of Dakhleh Oas is. There is good evidence to suggest that pottery began in the oasis as part of a new material assemblage that was used to structure social activities. Over time, the pottery became more practical in nature suggesting that the oasis inhabitants were coming to terms with a shifting physical and cultural environment.[...]