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Aceramic is defined as "not producing pottery". In archaeology, the term means "without pottery".

Aceramic societies usually used bark, basketry, gourds and leather for containers.[1] It is sometimes used to refer to a specific early Neolithic period before a culture develops ceramics, such as the Middle Eastern Pre-Pottery Neolithic A, in which case it is a synonym of preceramic (or pre-pottery).

It should be distinguished from the specific term Pre-Ceramic, which is a period in many chronologies of the archaeology of the Americas, typically showing some agriculture and developed textiles but no fired pottery. For example, in the Norte Chico civilization and other cultures of Peru, the cultivation of cotton seems to have been very important in economic and power relations, from around 3200 BC. Here, Cotton Pre-Ceramic may be used as a period. The "Pre-Ceramic" may be followed by "Ceramic" periods or a formative stage.[2]

"Aceramic" is also used to describe a culture at any time prior to its development of pottery as well as cultures that lack pottery altogether. A preceramic period is traditionally regarded as occurring in the early stage of the Neolithic period of a culture, but recent findings in Japan and China have pushed the origin of ceramic technology there well back into the Paleolithic era.

The Aceramic Neolithic period began roughly around 8500 BC and can be identified with over a half a dozen sites. The period was most prominent in Western Asia in an economy based on the cultivation of crops or the rearing of animals or both. Aceramic Neolithic groups are more rare outside Western Asia.[3] Aceramic Neolithic villages had many attributes of agricultural communities: large settlement size, substantial architecture, long settlement duration, intensive harvesting of seeds with sickles, equipment and facilities for storing and grinding seeds, and containers. Morphological evidence for domestication of plants comes only from Middle PPNB (Pre-Pottery Neolithic B), and by Late PPNB some animals, notably goats, were domesticated or at least managed in most of the sites.[4]


Some of the most famous Aceramic sites are located in the Republic of Cyprus. There was an Early Aceramic Neolithic phase beginning around 8200 BC. The phase can be best thought of as a "colony", or initial settlement of the island.[5] Until the relatively recent discoveries of the Akrotiri and the Early Aceramic Neolithic phases, the Aceramic Neolithic culture known as the Khirokitia culture was thought to be the earliest human settlement on Cyprus, from 7000 to 5000 BC.[6] There are a number of Late Aceramic Neolithic sites throughout the island. The two most important are called Khirokitia and Kalavasos-Tenta. Late Aceramic Cyprus did not have much external contact because of a lack of settlement in the west or northwest during the period. However, Late Aceramic Cyprus was a well-structured society.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "Archaeology Wordsmith". Retrieved 2016-03-07.
  2. ^ Stone-Miller, Rebecca, Art of the Andes, pp. 7, 18-23, 2002 (2nd edn), Thames & Hudson, World of Art series, ISBN 0500203636
  3. ^ "Archaeology Wordsmith". Retrieved 2016-03-07.
  4. ^ Banning, Edward (2002-01-01). "Aceramic Neolithic". In Peregrine, Peter N.; Ember, Melvin (eds.). Encyclopedia of Prehistory. Springer US. pp. 1–20. doi:10.1007/978-1-4615-0023-0_1. ISBN 9781468471359.
  5. ^ "Untitled Document". Archived from the original on 2013-10-20. Retrieved 2016-03-07.
  6. ^ "Untitled Document". Archived from the original on 2016-04-05. Retrieved 2016-03-07.