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date: 18 February 2019

Abstract and Keywords

The chapter discusses the contributions of ethnographic research to study of ceramic manufacturing practices in past societies. Ethnoarchaeology and material culture studies are identified as the two main approaches that have been used to frame research in modern pottery making communities; the former explicitly asking archaeologically relevant questions with a tendency toward positivist theoretical stances, the latter asking how ceramics are constituted in social relations using humanistic and symbolic theoretical frameworks. The discussion focuses on how research using these approaches and various theoretical frameworks have identified constraints upon manufacturing processes, how these are manifest during different stages of production, and how these have been synthesized to explain variation in manufacturing practices and finished products.

Keywords: ceramics, ethnographic research, ethnoarchaeology, material culture studies, constraints on manufacturing processes

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