Talk:Pottery/Archive 2

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Pottery archive 2 starts here: Starts March 6, 2006, through talk on January 15, 2007

Jomon pottery is the oldest yet found[edit]

  • Where is the oldest pottery in the world? In Japan, where some of the pottery dates back right into the last Ice Age..., Current World Archaeology [1]
  • It therefore astonished archeologists to discover that the world's oldest known pottery was made in Japan 12,700 years ago. For the first time in human experience, people had watertight containers readily available in any desired shape., Jared Diamond [2]
  • The earliest known pottery comes from Japan, and is dated to about 10,500BC., The Times Atlas of Archaeology (ISBN 0723003068)
  • Clay figurines are known from the earliest human occupations, but clay vessels, pottery vessels used for storing, cooking and serving food, and carrying water were first manufactured at least 12-13,000 years ago., Ceramics Today [3]
  • The oldest fired pottery so far discovered dates from Japan's Early Jomon period, which began about 12,700 years ago. , Peter Lane [4], Contemporary Studio Porcelain (ISBN 0812237722)
  • The earliest example of ceramics so far discovered dates from 27,000BC and is a 'Venus' figure found at Dolni Vestonice, Czech Republic. Pottery (ceramic vessels) date from 10,700BC..., Norris McWhirter's Book of Historical Records (ISBN 1852278943)
  • The earliest pottery known so far appears in Jomon. Remember that the technology of fired clay artifacts was known, since people made figurines in the Upper Paleolithic, perhaps 25,000 years ago. But then it disappeared until earthenware vessels appeared in Japan., Introduction to Archaeology, Nancy White [5]
  • As a result, this earthenware in the Fukui third layer has become the earliest pottery in the world., Minnesota State University [6]
  • Jomon means "cord pattern," for these people designed cord patterns on their pottery—the oldest of its kind in human history., Richard Hooker, Washington State University [7]
  • The earliest pottery appears in the Mesolithic Period in Asia, specifically in the early Jomon Period of Japan, ca. 10,000 B.C., Ervan G Garrison, Techniques in Archaeological Geology (ISBN 354043822X)
  • Pottery is radiocarbon dated to about 12,700 b.p. in a good cultural and stratigraphic context at Fukui Cave,...So far, it remains the earliest well-dated pottery in the world, Barnett and Hoopes, The Emergence of Pottery (ISBN 1560985178)

Hopefully, this puts this issue to rest. --Sean Brunnock 18:49, 6 March 2006 (UTC)

Bear Brunnock, 'The Emergence of Pottery' appears to be a much stronger reference than many you have previously listed. However it is bringing nothing fresh to the debate:

  • No one in the discussion has disputed that claims have been made for the Jomon pieces
  • As I have noted previously the classification of pottery by form and not material is unusual. I am not disparaging the professionalism of anthropologists and archaeologists but by definition their own subject of expertise is not the science, technology, understanding and definition of ceramics and pottery
  • A wikipedia entry on a subject as large as pottery should be multi-disciplined and not restricted to niche fields such as anthropology
  • There is no reason why references to all the published ‘oldest’ finds can not be included



You're saying that archaeologists are not experts in ancient pottery? I don't think you get to decide who is an expert on pottery and who is not. Furthermore, I don't believe it is your decision to determine which references are "strong" and which are "weak". --Sean Brunnock 21:12, 5 April 2006 (UTC)

Dear Brunnock,

Please do not twist or distort my comments

1. A read of my comments will clearly show that I did not suggest “ ... that archaeologists are not experts in ancient pottery?” I commented that “by definition their own subject of expertise is not the science, technology, understanding and definition of ceramics and pottery” This is fundamentally different to your misrepresentation

2. The study of a subject such as pottery is multi-disciplined. There are professions that are more ‘expert’, though that is not a term I would choose to use, on many aspects of pottery than archaeologists and anthropologist

3. I did not claim it was my decision to determine which references are strong or weak. I expressed my opinion regarding the relative authority of references you have listed. Can you advise where in wikipedia’s policies that expression of such in the discussion and talk pages, not the entry itself, is forbidden?



Hate to shake ya!! In Archaeology -- nothing is ever put to rest. I was taught years ago that Jamon was the earliest culture to produce functional clay items, and I am generally comfortable with that assertion and most of your references above. At the same time, I am academicly excited to examine new finds, new assertions and new theories. And I am willing to examine them -- as critically as my education and experience allows. Our Wiki article should reflect the generally accepted opinion plus the fact that archaeological research continues and that new material may eventually supersede the established theories. So I would support and, help write as time permits, a section about new discoveries and theories. WBardwin 00:48, 17 March 2006 (UTC)
Archaeologists have had plenty of time to evaluate Venus figurines. They're not pottery. --Sean Brunnock 12:40, 17 March 2006 (UTC)

"Pottery" from the Gulf of Cambay is not pottery[edit]

See Talk:Ruins in the Gulf of Cambay for details. --Sean Brunnock 20:43, 6 March 2006 (UTC)

Why to stop discussion on Gulf of Cambay ancient pottery?[edit]

Well Brunock. The matter for the earliest pottery in the world found in Gulf of Cambay is not closed for me. Although I accept that proves are solid on Jomon pottery, it does not mean that future works in Gulf of Cambay could not shed more light. The discussion on Ruins of Gulf of Cambay is not over. I think you try to put on the screen only solid findings as it is Jomon. I understand. But in Cambay there are many aspects that have to be discussed. I would suggest an international team, maybe from UNESCO that could take part in underwater exploration and maybe excavation. There are many features that NIOT put into consideration, only one of them is pottery.

Wikipedia only reports, not researches. Rmhermen 23:57, 6 March 2006 (UTC)


Since point of view of geologist Paul H is not definitive. He says: "This could be or not be pottery". I suggest to repost in the article the following lines:

(disputed — see talk page) An earliest pottery than Jomon was found in Gulf of Cambay, India dated c. 31000 for unbaked fragments, c.16800 BP for fired pottery. The quotation with references for the earliest pottery in the world found in Gulf of Cambay, India are as follows: "...a nice, thin, pottery ...analysed in the Physical Research Laboratory, Ahmadabad, Gujarat State, using standard Thermoluminescence based pottery dating techniques. As expected the one of the pottery piece whose figure is given, gave a date of 13000 ± 1950 BP. It is an important date. Another pottery piece which was ill-fired, on OSL dating (Location 21 o12.54' N ; 72 o 30.370' E) by Oxford University gave an age of 16840 ± 2620 BP. These are the oldest fired pottery pieces obtained sofar in the world...In the Gulf of cambay civilization already attempts appear to have been made in experimental pottery making. These are seen from effects of fired clays (for making pottery) which gave ages of 20130 ± 2170 BP (Location 21 o 13.720' N 72 o 26.190' E) and 16600 ± 1150 BP (Location 21 o13.80 'N ; 72 o 26.10E), by OSL as determined by the Oxford University dating lab... Apart from this, sun-dried Pottery pieces were collected in these areas. Three of the specimens were dated by OSL facility in Oxford. The results obtained are (1) 31270±2050 BP, (2) 25700±2790 BP and (3) 24590±2390 BP. A black slipped dish which was also sun dried was dated in Oxford by OSL. This gave an age of 26710 ± 1950 BP" (Badrinaryan 2006). For a detailed Chart of Dates see Kathiroli et al. 2004: 149.

Oldest Pottery - a request[edit]

Dear All, Please could I kindly ask that references are not deleted simply because they do not fit in with individuals' personnel beliefs or agendas. The candidates that have been mentioned, Jamon, Venus and Cambray, can all be supported with legitimate references. I believe that wikipedia is not the place to decide which is the 'correct' oldest pottery and rather the entry should note the various claims that have been made. Given time I will prepare a draft of the history section before submitting it for consideration.

Regards, Andy

The candidates that have been mentioned, Jamon, Venus and Cambray, can all be supported with legitimate references.
No, Andy, they can't. The Cambay pottery issue is discussed extensively on Talk:Ruins in the Gulf of Cambay. The only reference you came up with which supports Venus figurines as pottery was an engineering ethics book.
No references have been deleted. This discussion has been archived to /Archive 1. --Sean Brunnock 15:37, 7 March 2006 (UTC)

Dear Brunnock, I had previously posted that I would not engage in further debate with you because you appeared to be wholly disinclined to consider other peoples contributions. I am breaking this with an appeal to you for the benefit of wikipedia: Please consider:

1. There are various claims for the oldest candidate

2. The various claims have been discussed in literature and books

I can see no reason why the section on the oldest pottery can not mention both the claims and that there is contention & debate

There are other references to the claims for the Venus of Dolni Vestonice, and these being from academics. I will expand upon the list below in the draft I have already mentioned I will prepare when time allows, however these include:

  • The Smithsonian article Nick quoted
  • Understanding Materials Science: History, Properties, Applications by R.E.Hummel
  • The Emergence of Civilization by Charles Keith Maisels
  • Essentials of Physical Anthropology With Infotrac by R.Jurmain, L.Kilgore, W.Trevathan, H.Nelson

And whilst I have not wish to start a debate on the respective authority of references I’m puzzled that you denigrate a previous citation I have made, the book by R.E. Spier, considering that it has considerably greater academic weight that a number of yours such as those by Norris McWhirter and Asimov

As I noted given time I will write a section which will note the various claims together with supporting references not least to allow readers to follow up if there wish. This would include some from the list you have recently given, I think Introduction to Archaeology by Nancy White’s and Jomon of Japan: The World's Oldest Pottery being the most appropriate

Again during this discussion no one has disputed that there have been claims that Jamon is the oldest pottery ... just that there are other claims

The Nancy White book appears to be of particular interest. Whilst I have not read it by accepting your quote it appears she is interpretating pottery as needing to be a vessel: this is a very unusual. As has been discussed here by overwhelming international contentious pottery is a material and is independent of form ... and this can be shown be exacting definitions from respected and stringently governed organisations. However the very rare interpretation of pottery of being a vessel could be mentioned in the entry as part of the reasons for the various claims. The poor use of terms can be seen in another of your references, Ceramics Today, which states “ ... clay vessels, pottery vessels ...” This is incorrect as if the vessels were pottery they will have been fired and hence would have been permanently changed into something that is not clay



Andy, the "pottery" from the Gulf of Cambay is not accepted by mainstream archaeologists. See Talk:Ruins in the Gulf of Cambay.
I have quoted SEVEN references which state that Jomon pottery is the oldest. I can cite more if you'd like. This is put up or shut up time. Let's see quotes, from several experts, stating that Venus figurines are the oldest example of pottery yet found. --Sean Brunnock 17:42, 7 March 2006 (UTC)

Of course your request for experts needs to be reflected in your own references and so of yours the following would certainly struggle to be so classed:

  • Issac Asimov – a Science Fiction writer
  • Norris McWhirter – editor of The Guinness Book of Records
  • BYU - a religious organisation
  • Contemporary Studio Porcelain – a book aimed at craft potters is hardly a source of expert opinion for the definition of materials and interpretation of archaeology
  • Ceramics Today – a website for craft potters is again hardly an authoritative source

And also consider Jared Diamond ... yes a well respected writer of popular & mainstream science books although does that make him an authority in this field?

What in the heck are you talking about? The list of references at the top of the page contains nothing by Asimov or BYU. Get your facts straight. --Sean Brunnock 21:23, 7 March 2006 (UTC)

I’ve just listed four references from academics who discuss the Venus of Dolni Vestonice being pottery. I’ve previously mentioned that when time allows I’ll draft a section where the subject and the various claims are mentioned

And if the claims regarding Cambay finds are not accepted by mainstream archaeologists, and this can be supported, then these doubts should be mentioned in entry. Remember the article is for the reference of people looking to learn ... they may be interested to read about the claims and counter claims

In response to you request for quotes:

1. Why? Including quotes in wikipedia articles is not compulsory although reference to the source of the information should be

2. Why? Are you the moderator and enforcer of wikipedia?

Nevertheless to play along with your game here’s a few I have to hand:

  • Spier: “Although the earliest fired pottery based on wet clay and bone was unearthed at Vestonice (Czechoslovakia) and dated 25000 years ago
  • Hummel: “ ...the oldest known artefact of baked clay is a fertility figurine called the “Venus of Vestonice”, which was found in the Czech Republic and supposedly dates back to about 23,00 B.C.
  • Maisels: “...comes the fired-clay Venus figurine, the oldest identified. Not an isolated find, the figurine was recovered along with 2,200 pellets of baked clay, some of which were fragments of broken or unfinished animal statuettes. Wymer himself concludes, not only that pottery figurines are unknown from other Upper Palaeolithic site, but that this invention of ceramic techniques was a flash which failed to ignite any need or response in the community and probably dies with its inventor.”

And as regarding “put up or shut up time” please could you advise of your experience and qualifications in ceramics / pottery

Regards, Andy

Andy, the Spier quote is from Ethics, Tools and the Engineer (ISBN 0849337402), a book about engineering ethics. Amazon categorizes it under business management. I don't think he's an expert on ancient pottery.
Your second quote makes no mention of pottery.
Where does the third quote come from?
--Sean Brunnock 21:20, 7 March 2006 (UTC)

Dear Brunnock

So what if the Spier book is about engineering? The study of materials is multi-disciplined. Archaeologists call on experts from different fields, including science and engineering; they certainly don’t refer to science fiction writers such as Issac Asimov or the editor of the Guinness Book of Records that you have quoted. The categorisation by a retail outlet such as Amazon is wholly irrelevant; this reference is a valid academic source

You stated “Your second quote makes no mention of pottery” ... and? A fired clay object is pottery; this has been discussed previously and has been supported by other wikipedia contributors, and most importantly with references from internationally recognised authorities

The source of the third quote has previously been listed

And as regarding “put up or shut up time” please could you advise of your experience and qualifications in ceramics / pottery

Regards, Andy

Andy, you're either lying or you're seriously mixed up. The Spiers book is not about engineering. It's about engineering ethics. Anyone who read just the title of the book could figure that out. Also, why do you keep referring to Asimov? I didn't quote him. --Sean Brunnock 13:13, 8 March 2006 (UTC)

Please do not accuse me of lying

You claim you didn’t quote from Issac Asimov’s book ... well you must have forgotten about your discussion contributions on:

  • 11:43, 21 February 2006
  • 23:09, 21 February 2006

And as regarding “put up or shut up time” please could you advise of your experience and qualifications in ceramics / pottery

Regards Andy

Andy, look at the quotes at the top of this page. Nothing by Asimov. I never quoted Asimov. I simply mentioned his book. One gets the impression that you're getting desperate.
Why do you use the term ceramics / pottery? Could explain the difference between the two? Thanks. --Sean Brunnock 14:26, 8 March 2006 (UTC)

Dear Brunnock,

Desperate? Certainly not. Frustrated with your blinkedness; most definitely

And you referenced Asimov's Chronology of Science and Technology in support of your arguments on 21 February. In case you have forgotten you can find your comments in the archive of this discussion

To answer you question: “Could explain the difference between the two?” I could refer you back to the discussions, however:

Ceramics are inorganic, non-metallic compounds processed at high temperatures. They were not necessarily formulated using any clay
Pottery is a ceramic material that before firing was formulated from a significant propotion of clay

Although definitions have been produced by a number of recognised authorities for a single source here I refer to the American Society for Testing and Materials, ASTM, use the following definitions:

Ceramics - “an article having a glazed or unglazed body of crystalline or partly crystalline structure, or of glass, which body is produced from essentially inorganic, nonmetallic substances and either is formed from a molten mass which solidifies on cooling, or is formed and simultaneously or subsequently matured by the action of the heat.”
Pottery - "all fired ceramic wares that contain clay when formed, except technical, structural, and refractory products."

And in case you are not aware of ASTM it is described as "an international voluntary standards organization that develops and produces technical standards for materials, products, systems and services ... Members represent manufacturers, users, governments and academia from over 100 countries."

Regards, Andy

OK, then the question becomes "is a figurine a type of ware"? I argue that statues, figurines, and other works of art are not wares. --Sean Brunnock 15:38, 8 March 2006 (UTC)

Dear Brunnock, How you yourself wish to consider materials is your own decision. However by very broad contentious pottery is understood to be a material that is entirely independent of shape or function. Significantly the ASTM has no mention of statues, figures or figurines

Regarding the meaning of ware:

1. The term ware is in general use in pottery where it is applied to different body formulations such as earthenware or stoneware: both of these materials are commonly used to produce bowls, plates, vases, figurines ...

2. A visit to a Pottery will reveal that ‘ware boards’ are common. These simply being shelf like planks that are used to store and transport ware around the factory / studio. No separate terminology exists for boards used for vessels and figurines made at the same factory / studio using the same material and processes. The positioning of unfired pieces in a kiln is known as placing of ware, again no separate terminology exists for the placing of vessels and figurines

3. Although I don't think dictionaries are appropriate sources for technical defintions Chambers English Dictionary notes: ware – an article of merchandise. Pottery, as Delftware, Wedgwoodware



Can we agree that Venus figurines were not articles of merchandise? --Sean Brunnock 16:57, 8 March 2006 (UTC)

Dear Brunncok,

" ... agree that Venus figurines were not articles of merchandise." That would suggest knowledge of the makers intent, which clearly can not be known for definite. Also it is impossible to know they were not sold or traded

The full dictionary entry of course runs to many paragraphs as it considers all meanings and derivations such as warehouseman. Nevertheless to quote in full the section relevant to this in its entirety: "articles of merchandise or produce collectively: an article of merchandise: pottery, as Delftware, Wedgwood ware: articles of fineworkmanship, as Benaresware, ornamental metal-work from India: in composition, with defining word, articles of the same type or material, as hardware, earthenware" The colons are used to separate the different meanings so for this source what is critical in this case are:

  • articles of merchandise or produce collectively
  • pottery, as Delftware, Wedgwood ware

Regards, Andy

Thanks for all your work on references, guys. As to selected portions of your discussion.
As I've stated above, I believe the article should contain material on the traditional oldest Jomon ware as well as a section on new discoveries and theories.
I have stated my personal opinion that the function of a clay object has little bearing on our definition of pottery and ceramics. Function varies from culture to culture and from era to era. If we include modern usage, we run into a strong pattern of clay objects made purely for decorative or artistic purposes and not put to a traditional use. Most of the people in the Western world do not eat out of, put flowers in, etc....., clay objects on a regular basis. So I would support mentioning the Venus figurine here -- but the "articles of merchandise" argument is ridiculous.
Dates of specific references is not a good measure of their reliability. Although archaeology/history is revised due to new discoveries, older materials are excellent references and, although they reflect the perspectives and attitudes of their time, are rarely entirely refuted. They are used regularly in academic and scholarly pursuits. In contrast, new material is more likely to be speculative and may actually be less reliable. The major advantage to more recent references, for our purposes, is that they may be more readily available to our readers.
As a goal, definitions and perspectives in this article should strive to incorporate the perspectives of all fields that deal with clay. It is probably impossible to do this adequately in one article -- and I suspect we will end up branching out articles on specific topics.
Andy, please don't put down my alma mater. It is true Brigham Young University is a private university sponsored by a religious organization. But their Archaeology/Anthropology department, where I received my undergraduate, is internationally known and academically recognized in several significant areas. As to the specific reference from BYU, I withhold my opinion pending a chance to read it.
My time here is limited for the foreseeable future, but I will try to contribute as I can. It would be nice to get to a point where, as a group, we can quit sniping at one another and actually do some constructive editing. Comments always welcome however. WBardwin 01:16, 17 March 2006 (UTC)

Hello WBardwin,

Sorry for not responding to your comments sooner. This was simply due not noticing as the fragmented nature of the current discussion page is a little confusing. I pretty much agree with all you say ... though not Most of the people in the Western world do not eat out of ... clay objects on a regular basis as they do in my experience. What’s happening where you are? :-)

My view on the ‘oldest pottery’ remains: there should be mention of all the finds along with a little discussion as both space and wikipedia guidelines allows. The wikipedia article should help readers learn and not award a medal to the winner of an ‘oldest contest’! As I’ve noted at length categorisation of pottery by form or use is both unusual and illogical. Nevertheless I think of fundamental importance to human history is the technological development of firing that is necessary whatever the object, i.e. 1) knowledge that a material that can be shaped and then permanently altered by firing, and 2) the firing process could be adequately controlled

I’d agree that "articles of merchandise" argument is ridiculous. This was picked up from a single reference I quoted, and as I subsequently noted neither the intention of the maker nor how the article was sold or traded can be known

My apologies if you took any offence from comments about BYU as this was not my intent. With my scientist hat on I am somewhat cynical about the motivation behind any publication, for example: Is an article in a journal by a commercial organisation simply trying to sell their products and services? I had doubts about the BYU reference simply because by definition the University holds specific beliefs whilst a purely scientific perspective must be completely dispassionate. If this reservation is unwarranted for the Archaeology/Anthropology department then I again apologies

Kind regards,


More on Cambay finds[edit]

Dear ANDY,

We are a group of geoarchaeologists and we agree with you. Brunock is absolutely wrong by stoping the claim such as Cambay. Paul H and Witzel do not represent ALL the scholar community. Witzel is not an archaeologist and writes about it. Why Brunock here stops other proffesional views? We think it is a political matter. Wikipedia is becoming a personal ownership that shows only one side of the story. Wikipedia was created for ALL KIND of contributors and sadly this is not what is happening. I see it was created a group of Witzel friends that rejects everything that is not convinient to their political views. Farmer and Witzel even has a group that attacks everything that comes from India and other countries. They have taken over this enciclopaedia. They are very active, in USA they are involved in many non proffesional aspects like attacks to the Hindu community in California. They hide themselves in supposed PHds and Harvard scholarship. Even Witzel made a Fake translating a Hindu ancient book only to stop other claims. This people do not stop with nothing. See B.B. Lal 2005. A book where it is shown Witzels fake. Do not be surprised Andy, it is a political matter with nothing to do with scholarship.

Hello, Thank you for the support. My interest is entirely in helping with a comprehensive and accurate entry. I have no experience of attempts to misrepresent findings for political means; something I personally am strongly opposed, which I understand is also the philosophy of wikipedia

There are different claims for which is the oldest pottery. Jamon and Venus of Dolni Vestonice are the ones with which I am familiar. However I personally think that the Cambay finds should be mentioned in the entry of Oldest Pottery. I do not believe wikipedia is the forum to decide which claim has the strongest case. Readers would be best served by stating all candidates along with mention of disagreements and references to allow further study

Regards, Andy

Dear Andy,

You are right Andy. And I wonder if Wikipedia is still a FREE virtual enciclopaedia.

Invitation to Andy and serious researchers[edit]

Hi Andy, let me invite you and serious researchers to join us to:

where you can find disscussion of Gulf of Cambay and other matters about archaeology. You can participate posting to this List. Your views will be taken into account about pottery. Thank you

Another 'oldest' pottery![edit]

Hello all,

Just found this which I found interesting:

It used to be assumed that the origin of pottery was preceded by basket making and that pre-historic man, or rather woman, strengthened basket-work bowls by smearing the outside with clay. The idea of pottery may have started when such a basket was accidentally burnt. Fired clay pieces with basket-work imprints dating from 15,000 to 10,000 BC have been found in Gambles Cave in Kenya.The marks left by the wicker basket were delibrately copied on wheel-thrown pots. There is now a school of thought which regards pottery as the forerunner of basketry

Ref. Man and Pottery. Rado P. J.Br.Ceram.Soc.7. 1970

Regards, Andy

1970? I think we can assume that this has been refuted. --Sean Brunnock 13:39, 10 March 2006 (UTC)

Why? Where has it been refuted? And who by?

Regards, Andy

Andy, the references that I quoted at the top of this page were all written in the last 10 years.
And by the way, there are now ELEVEN citations up there. Cheers. --Sean Brunnock 13:53, 10 March 2006 (UTC)

Dear Brunnock, The list to which you refer to adds nothing to the discussion as there has never been question that there are claims that Jamon is the oldest pottery. The only dispute has been from you who appears to wish that other claims are not mentioned

And you could answer the following:

1. As you stated “I think we can assume that this has been refuted” could you detail where and by whom as, to quote the philosopher George Henry Lewes advised from 1859, “We must never assume that which is incapable of proof

2. Detail your experience and qualifications in ceramics / pottery

Regards, Andy

If there were compteting claims, then the references that I quoted would have mentioned them. --Sean Brunnock 14:31, 10 March 2006 (UTC)

There are other claims, and even though you are not an enforcer or invigilator of wikipedia, and as such no one is beholden to prove anything to you, references have been given

By stating " ... that I quoted would have mentioned them" I assume you have fully read all of your references and not simply undertaken a web search and selective picked quotations. Is this correct? Nevertheless even if you have read all of them your statement that ommission is some form of proof that other claims have been discredited is flawed

Also the same statement can only mean: 1.) You're assuming knowledge of the intent of all the authors, or 2.) you have complete knowledge of the the intent of all the authors



Will you answer the previous questions?

1. Where and by whom have all the other claims been discredited

2. Detail your experience and qualifications in ceramics / pottery



Andy, you cannot single-handedly claim that there are compteting claims to the oldest pottery. You have to cite reliable sources. By claiming that there are compteting views without citations, then you're doing original research. I claim that Jomon pottery is the oldest yet found and I have cited multiple sources. That's all I have to do.
I didn't make the rules. If you don't like them, then maybe Wikipedia isn't for you. --Sean Brunnock 16:31, 10 March 2006 (UTC)

Dear Brunnock I am not “single-handedly claim that there are compteting claims to the oldest pottery” References have been given. And regarding your request for reliable sources? Let’s look at the evidence:

Oldest pottery. Citations for other claims have included:

The Smithsonian Institute
Journal of The British Ceramic Society
Journal of Indian Ocean Archaeology

How can quoting these be described as Original Research?All easily conform to Wikipedia’s policy of “Reputable publications include peer-reviewed journals, books published by a known academic publishing house or university press, and divisions of a general publisher which have a good reputation for scholarly publications.”

Some have yours have included:

A science fiction writer - Issac Asimov
The editor of The Guinness Book of Records – Norris McWhirter
A religious organisation – BYU
Web site for craft potters - Ceramics Today
A craft potter - Peter Lane

The latter three would certainly struggle to conform to the above policy, and whilst the initial two be from “general publisher which have a good reputation” there can be no debate on the respective authority

Definitions. Citations for pottery being a ceramic material have included:

American Society for Testing and Materials
Ceram Research
Institute of Materials
Department of the UK Government
Respected scholars - Dodd & Murfin

And to support your view?

You stated “I claim that Jomon pottery is the oldest yet found and I have cited multiple sources. That's all I have to do.” Again, again, again there is no dispute that Jomon has been claimed to be the oldest, just that as there are other supported claims, and therefore have no reason not to be included

And as far as the suggestion that “... then maybe Wikipedia isn't for you” perhaps you should consider the following from Wikipedia itself:

1.) The content of Wikipedia is free, written collaboratively by people all around the world. Please note the word collaboratively
2.) The threshold for inclusion in Wikipedia is verifiability, not truth. The entry on the oldest pottery is not decided on what you consider to be the truth but what can be verified, and this includes Jomon and others

Regards, Andy

Will you answer the previous questions? 1. Where and by whom have all the other claims been discredited 2. Detail your experience and qualifications in ceramics / pottery

Regards, Andy

Andy, it is not my responsibility to disprove your claims. You have to prove your claims. You have to cite something that says, There are several competing claims to the oldest pottery in the world or something to that effect. You can't just say, I have references. You have to cite your references. --Sean Brunnock 18:28, 10 March 2006 (UTC)

Dear Brunnock,

I'm not just saying I have references, the citations have been given previously, and remain on record within these discussion pages.

These are not my claims; these are published in sources that conform to Wikipedia's criteria

And to suggest that a reference must be found that says There are several competing claims to the oldest pottery in the world or something to that effect. is nonsense. There are published claims of finds that pre-date Jomon: there is no reason for their exclusion

And to be so particular regarding citations is rather strange from someone whose only response to the original discussion regarding the Venus of Dolni Vestonice was to simply repeat that it was ceramic not pottery. An interpretation of these terms you were incapable of debating with any logic or to support with defintions from recognised authorities

You are correct to state it is not my responsibility to disprove your claims but only because you have no greater authority over this entry than any other Wikipedia contributor. However as part of the discussion it is a legitimate question as you have consistently ignored or criticised appropriate references to the other claims

It is not your responsibility to decide what is permitted. It is not your responsibility to delete part of an entry that does not conform to your own beliefs or personal agenda

Regards, Andy

Please answer

1. Where and by whom have all the other claims published in recognised sources, which have been appropriately references previously, been discredited

2. Detail your experience and qualifications in ceramics / pottery

Regards, Andy

The fact that the claims in a 36 year old article are not repeated in contemporary references should be proof enough.
As for your second question, I'll refer you to Wikipedia:No personal attacks- Comment on content, not on the contributor. This is the second time I've pointed out this policy to you. --Sean Brunnock 20:02, 10 March 2006 (UTC)

Dear Brunnock

Yes one reference is from 1970. However you do not explained what ... proof enough ... it is of. I again refer you to Wikipedia's policy of The threshold for inclusion in Wikipedia is verifiability, not truth. As it is from a highly respected academic organisation it is a worthy contribution to the debate; and one the readers may find interesting and wish to follow up for additional reading

There have been other legitimate references to other finds, and these are both contemporary and have been fully cited

Asking about your experience and qualifications is not a personal attack. I have never attacked you personally; I don't know if you are refering to a suggestion I made to another contributor for a method of avoiding idiotic contributions; if so you will be able to read in the archive that you nor anyone else was mentioned. It is actually you that has come closest to a personal attack when on the 8th March you alluded to me lying, in response to which I politely asked you to refrain from such accusations. And regarding politeness by refering back through the discssion you will find I begin my comments with Dear and finish with Regards ... a simple gesture of civility

Again I ask you to detail:

1. Where and by whom have all the other claims published in recognised sources, which have been appropriately references previously, been discredited

2. Your experience and qualifications in ceramics / pottery. I can not see why this is not a legitimate question when you have been so judgmental in what you consider to be worthy of entry in this field



Yet another 'oldest' pottery![edit]

Hello all,

Just found this: “Beginning sometime after 14,000 B.P., technology was adopted allowing the efficient use of lower ranked resources such as seeds, signaled by the appearance of grinding tools and pottery in southern Siberia, Mongolia, and China “ The paper gives six references for these finds

Reference: Microlithic Technology in Northern Asia: A Risk-Minimizing Strategy of the Late Paleolithic and Early Holocene by R.G. Elston and P.J. Brantingham published in Thinking Small: Global Perspectives on Microlithization Archeological Papers of the American Anthropological Association 2002

Regards, Andy

14,000 BP = 12,000 BC. Cheers. --Sean Brunnock 17:53, 14 March 2006 (UTC)

Dear Brunnock, Other than demonstrating your basic mathematics skills, :-), I'm do not understand the point you are trying to make

Regards, Andy

Yet another, and another 'oldest' pottery![edit]

Hello all,

From a paper I've just received:

In China, the oldest pottery derives from a number of sites in the southern provinces of Jiangxi, Guanxi, and Guandong. This material dates between 10,000 B.P. and 13,000 B.P. (Jiao 1994). And even more remarkably, one date of 14,520 ± 140 B.P. is said to be associated with pottery recovered from a cave site in Jiangxi province (MacNeish and Cunnar 1998).

Currently, some of the world's oldest pottery derives from the Gasya site in the lower Amur River basin of the Russian Far East (Derevianko and Medvedev 1995). This material dates to ca. 12,960 ± 120 B.P.

Reference:Pleistocene Textiles in the Russian Far East:Impressions From Some of the World's Oldest Pottery. Hyland D.C., Zhushchikhovskaya I.S., Medvedev V.E., Derevianko A.P., Tabarev A.V. Mercyhurst Archaeological Institute

Regards, Andy

Does this mean that you've given up on insisting that Venus figurines are pottery? --Sean Brunnock 15:31, 16 March 2006 (UTC)

Dear Brunnock, I'm not looking to prove any particular claim. I'm making contributions to what could be a helpful and informative entry on pottery, including the various 'oldest' currently found. Nevertheless in response to your question, even though you never answer those I politely ask: If the Venus of Dolni Vestonice was made predominantly from clay before firing to induce permanent change then it is pottery - a definition globally accepted by recognised authorities, some of which have been previously referenced in this discussion

Regards, Andy

Your definition is not accepted by archaeologists. --Sean Brunnock 16:22, 16 March 2006 (UTC)

Dear Brunnock

1) This is not my definition

2) If I wanted information on archaeology I would ask an archaeologist however if I wanted information on pottery I would not ask an archaeologist

Regards, Andy

There's been some time now for these dates to be reviewed by other archaeologists. From a recent paper (Y.V. Kuzmin (2006) Antiquity 80: 362-371.)

"According to critical examination of the earliest 14C dates associated with pottery, manufacture began in China at c. 13700-13300 BP, in Japan at c. 13500 BP (and possibly as early as c .13 800 BP), and in the Russian Far East at c. 13300 BP. It is obvious that this was an almost simultaneous appearance of the new technology in different parts of East Asia, separated from each other by several thousand kilometres."
"We can conclude that the earliest technology for making food containers of fired clay appeared in East Asia concurrently in three separate regions, southern China, the Japanese Islands, and the Russian Far East, during the Late Glacial, c. 13700-13300 BP (c. 17300-15000 cal BP)."

For clarity, this author's BP dates are uncalibrated radiocarbon dates using the Libby half-life, and "cal BP" are calibrated radiocarbon dates.

And if it contributes anything to the debate on this page, the author of this paper uses the following definition of pottery, citing The Concise Oxford Dictionary of Archaeology as his authority: "clay that has been fashioned into a desired shape and then dried to reduce its water content before being fired to fix its form." 16:20, 30 August 2006 (UTC)

Hello (don't be shy what's your name?) Thank you for your most interesting contribution. Am I correct in assuming the article to which you refer is "Chronology of the earliest pottery in East Asia - progress and pitfalls"? If so it seems an excellent candidate for inclusion as it is from a respected, peer reviewed journal. It is the reference to the archaeology finds that are of particular interest as a definiton is well covered in the current wikipedia article Regards, Andy

The difference between pottery and ceramics?[edit]

You two seem to be having a great time. My personal opinions are based on a history degree, an archaeology degree, and personal experience in the clay field. My edits and references here, despite Brunnock's assertion in the archive, are based on established written references. Remember that clay is a material used, analyzed and discussed by a number of fields. Archaeology is important -- but its definitions and assertions are not the final word. Construction and engineering has a long and important history working with clay. In History, clay products are important measures of a culture. Modern industrial uses and definitions are also important, as are the definitions used by modern academia and craftsmen.

For the well being of the entire article -- and related articles in Wikipedia -- the central definitions of the pottery and ceramics question has to be revisited. If we do a good job in defining our terms for ceramics, pottery and other related terms, an accurate and effective tree of articles should follow. That has been an objective of mine but time has not permitted. Brunnock has said that he is not interested in reading my material on the talk pages. That is his right -- but it does not productively move toward consensus or reasonable discussions. If my personal definition of ceramics and pottery has any bearing, I will be happy to provide it. But I would like to see a reasoning discussion to arrive at a definition that would please people of all related disciplines. My time here is relatively limited at the moment, but I will try and participate in any such discussion as time permits. WBardwin 00:34, 17 March 2006 (UTC)

This is Wikipedia. Cite your sources. You can post your expert commentary on your personal blog. --Sean Brunnock 02:18, 17 March 2006 (UTC)
When I edit articles by quoting material, adding material or making significant alterations to material, I cite my sources. However, as Wiki cannot quote large blocks of copyrighted material in articles, editors often have to paraphrase and restructure material. When I make a generalized copy edit of existing material, it can be done for style, grammer, spelling, or content -- obviously sources for that are hard to cite. However, when we post on the discussion page, opinions, ideas and new material are all valid and may or may not be sourced. As to the definition of pottery and ceramics -- we will never find one source that will suit the needs of this very broad topic. We will have to create definitions by referencing, discussing and brainstorming -- i.e. consensus. As you say, remember this is Wikipedia. WBardwin 02:30, 17 March 2006 (UTC)
We will have to create definitions by referencing, discussing and brainstorming
That's original research. Please see Wikipedia:No original research --Sean Brunnock 02:48, 17 March 2006 (UTC)

No -- it is creating a concensus of opinion based on documentable material from various sources, disciplines and perspectives. That is essential to creating an encyclopedia. We cannot quote from any one source to create an article. We cannot quote or paraphrase from any two, three, four or twelve sources to create an article. As complex a topic as this one must be presented as a synthesis of many sources, well blended, but still comprehensive. All of the references you have found can be included, but they will not make an article by themselves. People make the article -- Wikipedia editors -- as a group. A concensus of opinion is required. Please try to work with the editors on this article. WBardwin 03:04, 17 March 2006 (UTC)

If we went by consensus, then this article would state that Venus figurines are pottery. The citations at the top of this page make it clear it clear that this is not the case. Also, you changed the definition of pottery in this article from "ceramic vessels" to "ceramic objects" without a citation or consensus. --Sean Brunnock 12:38, 17 March 2006 (UTC)
There is no truth, however, when we are dealing with NPOV; there are only points of view. While the majority of the sources and experts in the field may favor the Jomon, from my cursory reading of the previous discussion, it appears that sources for alternate theories do exist, whether we personally discredit them or not. There is no problem with including a minority or controversial position, as long as it is represented as such, and well qualified. Points of view outside the mainstream must be represented. I am thinking of something along the lines of, hypothetically: "While the mainstream of archaeology generally accepts the pottery of Japan as the world's oldest, a minority of researchers has identified the clay figurines of Vestonice from 25,000 years ago as the oldest." (And "Maisels says blah"). In any case, this talk page needs to become much more focused and much less combative. Please. :) Dmcdevit·t 19:12, 19 March 2006 (UTC)
There's no question that Venus figurines are the oldest ceramics yet found. Several citations at the top of this page note that and the Venus of Dolní Věstonice and Ceramics (art) articles both corroborate that fact. Can you cite any archaeologists or historians who consider the Venus figurines to be pottery? I've read the Maisels quote and it seems to be an offhand comment. I'd be reluctant to rewrite 3 articles on the basis of a single source. --Sean Brunnock 20:17, 19 March 2006 (UTC)
Okay then, that was my point. If someone can find a good reference for that, or demonstrate that one of the ones above is acceptable, then it ought to be mentioned. I'm not suggesting a rewrite, just adding a sentence or two. Dmcdevit·t 21:42, 19 March 2006 (UTC)
That's the problem. There's a couple of editors who refuse to concede that pottery and ceramics are two different subjects. --Sean Brunnock 21:50, 19 March 2006 (UTC)

Dear Dmcdevit, Thank you for your contributions, as you will have seen from the long discussion there are two threads to the debate:

1) Claim for the 'oldest' known pottery. My view is that as there are published articles for a number of finds, including but not solely Venus of Dolní Věstonice and Jomon, these should be included. Some are subject to great debate and dispute, such as Cambay, nevertheless mention should be made whilst acknowledging the debate. Exclusion of all except for Jomon is erroneous, though I hope not evidence of any prejudice, and would make for an inferior entry

2) Definition of pottery / ceramic. I confess to be at a lost regarding this being an issue at all here. The debate does not exist with people who have studied the subject, which in essence being that pottery is a ceramic material and is independent of form



Dear Brunnock, As I have asked before as you have been so dogmatic in your opnions please could you elaborate on your experience and qualifications in ceramics / pottery ... and before you again suggest this is a personal attack; it is not. Trying to class pottery as not being a ceramic material is very much a point of view outside the mainstream and clarification as to why you consider it so is therefore quite valid.



Dear Brunnock Fired clay objects are pottey as people who have studied and understand the subject know

Regards, Andy

Cite your source please. The ASTM says fired ceramic wares. You're assuming that wares and objects are the same. --Sean Brunnock 13:54, 17 March 2006 (UTC)

Dear Brunnock,

I’m not assuming anything

1) The standard does not define vessels or objects; it does not differentiate between them

2) Practioners, manufacturers, scholars and academics of pottery do not differentiate between them

If you wish to ignore the ASTM standard with what is quite a harebrained suggestion how about a definition that has been enshrined in law? From a UK Government document: “Pottery: china, earthenware and any article made from clay or from a mixture containing clay and other materials”

Reference: COSHH in the Production of Pottery, Approved Code of Practice. 1990 ISBN 07176 08492

Dear Brunnock,

Before commenting it would be useful if you:

1) Read all the discussion

2) Study the subject



Ceramics: objects of fired clay, including pottery and figurines.
Pottery: a class of ceramic artifacts in which clay is formed into containers or utensils 
(by hand, in molds, or with a potter's wheel), sometimes decorated, and fired.
Dr. Moss, University of Oregon [8]
Ceramics: The category of ceramics includes any object made of fired or sun-baked clay.
Pottery: Ceramic vessels made from earthenware or stoneware clay bodies.
Amy Carlson, Museum Studies Program, San Francisco State University [9]
ceramics - This term is used for any artifact made from clay and fired in a process that hardens the object. 
Pottery is an example of ceramics. Figures of humans or animals that are made from clay and fired are ceramics. 
Erskine College [10]
Ceramic Artifact Artifacts of fired clay belonging to pottery, figurine, or other ceramic industries 
(Ashmore and Sharer 2000: 247)
Pottery  A class of ceramic artifacts in which clay is formed into containers by hand or in molds or 
with a  potter's wheel, often decorated, and fired (Ashmore and Sharer 2000: 252).
University of Denver [11]
Ceramics include products, as well as bodies, beyond those prehistoric archaeologists refer to as “pottery”
 o nonpottery (true) ceramic bodies:  stoneware, china, porcelain (all vitrified, usually glazed, fired at 1200° C or more)
 o ceramic products other than “pots”:  beads, figurines, smoking pipes, bricks, tiles, drainage pipe, fixtures, 
   cements/plasters, refractories, insulators, dentures, etc. (crosscut the body types)
Pottery Defined
   * low-fired (<1200° C), nonvitrified, unglazed, and relatively coarse and porous (>10% porosity) vessels
   * with some exceptions, constitutes entirety of prehistoric “ceramics”
   * earliest: ca. 12,000 B.P. in Japan
K. E. Sassaman, University of Florida [12]
The term ceramics includes all artifacts that are modeled or molded from clay and then made durable by firing.
Ceramics include pottery, figurines, musical instruments, and spindle whorls.
 University of Kansas [13]

--Sean Brunnock 18:10, 22 March 2006 (UTC)

Hello Brunnock, The definition given at your latest link, University of Kansas, is “The term ceramics includes all artifacts that are modeled or molded from clay and then made durable by firing.” By quoting this I take it you now realise that the classification of ceramic articles, say a figurine and bowl, is based on the material and not the form.



Dear Brunnock,

1. Who are Dr. Moss, University of Oregon and Amy Carlson

2. What is their experience and qualifications in ceramics / pottery

3. If those are their definitions ask them what they consider the following to be:

  • bricks
  • corderite furnace linings
  • boron carbide ballistic protection plates
  • yttria stabilised grinding media

4. Ask if they have heard of:

  • ASTM
  • Ceram Research



PS I will not be able to respond for the next 6 days as I am travelling overseas to a seminar on pottery

I don't think I'll be contacting the authors of any of those quotes and asking them if they've ever heard of "yttria stabilised grinding media". Considering that a Google search yielded zero hits, I think it's safe to say that no one has ever heard of "yttria stabilised grinding media". I'm also wondering what you're trying to tell us. --Sean Brunnock 23:53, 22 March 2006 (UTC)

Dear Brunnock,

What can say? In may haste on Wednesday before I was travelling I made a typographical error by omitting one word. The fourth item on the list should have read yttria stabilized zirconia grinding media

I’m puzzled by your conclusion that zero Google hits means no one would have heard of a material or subject. Putting aside the typo error you’re not suggesting that a web search is the definitive verification?

To answer you question of “... wondering what you're trying to tell us”. As the four items in the list are all ceramic articles these illustrate that ceramic objects do not 1) have to be vessels or figurines, and 2) do not have to have contained any clay. They make evident flaws in the definitions of ceramic you referenced; and to illustrate consider Dr.Moss’s definition and the last two examples:

  • boron carbide ballistic protection plates. A ceramic article that never contained any clay.
  • yttria stabilised grinding media. Another ceramic article that never contained any clay.

Your references support an earlier point I made that considering pottery to be anything other than a ceramic material which is independent of form is a view outside the mainstream: your references highlight that in a niche field there is a unique application of pottery. These classification criteria are clearly illogical; it would classify a vessel shaped from clay and fired as pottery whilst a non-vessel article made from the same material and by the same process is excluded and grouped with a boron carbide ballistic protection plate. Very obviously the clay based vessel and non-vessel are extremely closely related whilst the ballistic protection plate is significantly removed

Of course there is no reason why this niche interpretation of the term pottery should not be included with appropriate caveats in the entry along with the various ‘oldest’ finds

And as I have noted before information and definitions of pottery & ceramics are not the specialisms of anthropologists and archaeologists.




Dear Brunnock, Please could you correct your references as how you have listed some of them is incorrect, for example:

  • Kamaki & Serizawa 1967
  • Ashmore and Sharer 2000: 247

Proper citations are needed, which include the journal or book from where they are taken

Regards, Andy

I don't think I ever cited them. --Sean Brunnock 13:40, 27 March 2006 (UTC)

Dear Brunnock, On the 22 March you noted:

Ceramic Artifact Artifacts of fired clay belonging to pottery, figurine, or other ceramic industries (Ashmore and Sharer 2000: 247)



Oh that. I was quoting a webpage at the University of Denver. I provided a link to the page which has a full citation. --Sean Brunnock 14:03, 27 March 2006 (UTC)

Dear Brunock,

The use of second hand references is very bad practice

(And you've included Kamaki & Serizawa 1967 in the main text)



Who are Kamaki & Serizawa? In the main article, I cited Discover and Current World Archaeology. Both citations adhere to Wikipedia:Citing sources. --Sean Brunnock 14:22, 27 March 2006 (UTC)

Dear Brunnock, Who are Kamaki & Serizawa? My point exactly so I've removed this incomplete reference from the article

And just in case you've not seen I've responded to the yttria stabilised grinding media discussion




Doesn't the word pottery come from "pot", i.e. a vessel? Etymology clearly expresses the core meaning of the word. That's kind of common sense. Of course the usage of the word pottery may sometimes be extended (as happens with many other words) to define the material type (as a sort of ceramic), or objects made of a similar material (one often sees the expression "pottery object"), but that's a rather abusive usage. Shouldn't the definition be something like: "The word pottery first and foremost refers to pots (i.e. vessels), but may sometimes be used by extension to define various objects of the same material." PHG 13:38, 27 March 2006 (UTC)

Dear PHG,

Thanks for the contribution. Whilst the etymology of words is certainly a valuable addition to any wikipedia entry its not the best source for a definition. To illustrate that it would be an erroneous source for definitions consider another a ceramic material; feldspar. This is from the German or Swedish for field stone ... obviously not the definition used for this mineral

For interest I understand the origin of the word pottery is ascribed to Old French from around C15th

International definitions of pottery that have been agreed in both technical and legal worlds have been referred to in the discussion and used for the basis of that in wikipedia



Project Page?[edit]

What would all the editors think about established a Ceramic/Pottery project page? It could help us define terms, organize articles and subdivide topics. In addition, I would like the project to help with an article tree, as discussed in the archives. Please vote below. WBardwin 01:49, 11 April 2006 (UTC)

Ref: Wikipedia:WikiProject for information. See Wikipedia:WikiProject Visual arts for a fairly new effort at artists actually organizing!

"Agree" -- WBardwin 01:49, 11 April 2006 (UTC)
Hello WBardwin,

I’d tentatively agree but would value elaboration of your suggestion Kind regards, Andy

I agree, it would be a good idea to have a project page covering all of the ceramic arts and crafts. This area does not seem to be very well structured on Wikipedia at present, with random articles all over the place, many of them stubs and many of them not very well written. Yup! Count me in. Where do we go from here? Regards, Nick. Nick 11:14, 11 April 2006 (UTC)

Hello WBardwin, Thanks for the link. As I now better understand I concur with Nick "Yup! Count me in." So over to you? Kind regards, Andy
Hello from WikiProject_Visual_arts! Good to see other activity in the arts articles. User:WBardwin asked about starting a Wikipedia:WikiProject (there are some good links there). My experience with visual arts has been that there are bursts of activity and project pages often languish, so I'd say to skip a lot of the new (project) page creation. Keep it a bottom up approach with a few specific issues to work on and add links on talk pages to let new people know there are other people devoting time to an area. --Clubmarx 06:58, 10 June 2006 (UTC)

Forming techniques[edit]

The recent edit by seems a little harsh. Any thoughts from anyone? Regards, Andy

"boil and steam food for the first time"[edit]

Finishing edit comment: This is not literally correct, at least not for all people. The Basket Weavers, who preceded the Pueblos in the Southwest of the U. S. boiled food in very tight baskets, lined with unfired clay on the bottoms to keep them from burning.

Who produced the first pottery[edit]

Don't want to cause a disturb or anything, but how come other prominent electronic encyclopedias doesn't mention anything about the Jomon culture producing the oldest pottery in the world? Most of them just mentioned that it is the oldest ceramic arts in Japan, and it was heavily influenced by Chinese ceramics. Although, I don't think any of these mentioned about who produced the "absolute" earliest pottery. Columbia Encyclopedia Sixth Edition [14], Encarta [15], Encyclopædia Britannica [16], [17]. -- 21:48, 20 July 2006 (UTC)

I think this is because the introduction of pottery vessels is associated mainly with the more settled farming communities of the Neolithic. The fact that pottery vessels were apparently made and used by the Palaeolithic hunter-gatherers of the early Jomon period is interesting, but it didn't seem to lead anywhere. As written, the article could be read as suggesting that the use of pottery in the Jomon period led directly to an increase in population, but there isn't a shred of evidence to support this view, I believe. You need to know that I'm not any sort of expert in this area. Regards, Nick. Nick 08:22, 21 July 2006 (UTC)

Please refer to the references. The article is correctly cited.
It therefore astonished archeologists to discover that the world’s oldest known pottery was made in Japan 12,700 years ago. For the first time in human experience, people had watertight containers readily available in any desired shape. With their new ability to boil or steam food, they gained access to abundant resources that had previously been difficult to use: leafy vegetables, which would burn or dry out if cooked on an open fire; shellfish, which could now be opened easily; and toxic foods like acorns, which could now have their toxins boiled out. Soft-boiled foods could be fed to small children, permitting earlier weaning and more closely spaced babies. Toothless old people, the repositories of information in a preliterate society, could now be fed and live longer. All those momentous consequences of pottery triggered a population explosion, causing Japan’s population to climb from an estimated few thousand to a quarter of a million.

Diamond, Jared (June 1998). "Japanese Roots". Discover. Discover Media LLC. Retrieved 2006-07-21. 

--Sean Brunnock 13:47, 21 July 2006 (UTC)

Well, I think it's always hard to determine these kind of things. "Who produced this... which is the earliest..." They were early primary (mesolithic/neolithic) societies, who knows without historical records. We can now only rely on science and archaeological evidences. -- 05:53, 22 July 2006 (UTC)

Hello (may I call you “67”?). Two good points, this isn't the Guinness book of records and yes, almost everything about prehistory, apart from the bits and pieces of material evidence that have chanced to survive, is surmise. It is possible, for example, to surmise that the manufacture and use of pottery during the early Jomom period "triggered a population explosion", but there is, as far as I know, no evidence to support this view. On the other hand, I might care to speculate that no causal relationship existed between the introduction of pottery and the subsequent rise in population. I might go on to speculate that the introduction of pottery coupled with the rise in population were the twin results of much wider changes in the backdrop against which these events occurred. I would not, of course, attempt to present the results of my speculation as hard facts. Regards, Nick. Nick 11:19, 22 July 2006 (UTC)

Please read Wikipedia:Verifiability. --Sean Brunnock 11:49, 22 July 2006 (UTC)


Recent efforts to place information on what appears to be a brand or commercial pottery venture from Vietnam have been reverted. However, the material may have some merit as a beginning of a Vietnamese pottery article. Does the anon contributor have more information? WBardwin 04:40, 31 July 2006 (UTC)

Hi WBardwin, I voice support to your suggestion, although having no experience of Vietnamese pottery I would not be able to contribute anything specific to the article. Hopefully the entry would be better than the text previously inserted in the Pottery article. Regards, Andy

Evolution of Glazing technique[edit]


Thank you for your recent contribution ‘Evolution of Glazing technique’, I think information on the development of lustres is important. However I would like to make a few suggestions: 1.) It seems too long on a single subject to be included in a general article. Could you cut the length of the text in the pottery article, and then link it to a newly created article which includes all your current text 2.) Include other significant contributions from the Islamic world such as turquoise glazes and decoration using calligraphy & geometric patterns 3.) Include some references

Regards, Andy

I agree with all of the points Andy makes, especially with number 1. It would be better to create a new article named something that is more descriptive of the actual content, like 'Muslim Contributions to Glazing Technique,' and link to it from the revised section, 'Evolution of Glazing technique.' In the revised section it would be nice to hear a little more about Asian (and other group's) early contributions to glazing techniques so that the article is more well rounded. By the way, it is kind of refreshing to hear about some positive historic contributions by Muslims.

Sincerely, Berneegirl 21:45, 20 September 2006 (UTC)

Commercial and other links deleted[edit]

I've just deleted the following links from the Pottery article, for the reasons stated.

Indian Blue Pottery (commercial link).

Pottery list (links to page that has no obvious pottery content. Also appears to be written in the Czech language).

Glazed pottery manufacturer (commercial link).

How sanitaryware is made (very little of pottery interest here).

pottery school UK (commercial link).

pottery school germany (appears to be a commercial link to a German-language site).

Discover a Hobby: Online guide for learning about Ceramics / Pottery (links to a page with significant commercial content).

Regards, Nick. Nick 17:34, 29 December 2006 (UTC)


There are a tremendous amount of links. Are these all necessary or useful as it does make for a untidy looking article? Also what is the policy on linking to commercial sites as recently this one,, has just appeared. ThanxTheriac

Hello Theriac, the Wikipedia policy on external links is here: Wikipedia:External_links. The justpottery link that's recently appeared can be blown away, pronto. I've recently destroyed a number of commercial links that have found their way onto the Pottery pages, see above. Regards, Nick. Nick 17:24, 9 January 2007 (UTC)

Just to follow-up the previous post, I've just deleted the link in question, which might draw some flak from the people who posted it. It's a pity (because the site looks to be an interesting one) but the link points straight to a page advertising things for sale. Regards, Nick. Nick 17:46, 9 January 2007 (UTC)

Hello Nick, Thanks. If you have an interest in ceramics you may be interested to join the debate that's going on at Talk:Ceramics(art)Theriac 18:00, 9 January 2007 (UTC)


Hello Nick, I have slight modified some of your recent edits, including

  • Clay -> clay body
  • heating -> heat to high temperature
  • harden -> induce reactions that lead to permanent changes that include an increase in strength
  • Jiggering and jolleying 'semi-skilled' is more representative of the operatives (though I note manual operativs can be highly skilled)
  • Flat & hollow ware can be made by roller-head machine
  • Sanitaryware is not made on RAM presses
  • Some internal links on the list of decoration tchniques
  • Capitalise RAM as its a company & trade name

Theriac 13:17, 12 January 2007 (UTC)

Thanks, keep it up. I've popped a note on your talk page, BTW. Regards, Nick. Nick 17:09, 13 January 2007 (UTC)


Hello Everyone, before changing I would like to comment about the statement “When glazing, it is always necessary to make and fire a tester, because the glaze turns to a very different colour when fired: e.g., forest moss looks brown unfired but actually turns green after firing.

1. This may be practiced by some but it is not by all. It far too dictatorial to suggest “it is always” 2. “Tester” is not a universal recognised term. Changing to test piece would be better 3. “Forest moss” is a poor description. I assume it refers to a glaze rather than a type of moss but this is not clear from the text. A rewording, such as to note fired colours can be different to unfired, would be better. ThaxTheriac 20:18, 15 January 2007 (UTC)

Yup, I agree with all of this, do it babe. Regards, Nick. Nick 20:36, 15 January 2007 (UTC)