Clay Technologies and Past Foodways in the Pacific Northwest

Burke fig 2

Clay bowl from Columbia River
(Courtesy of Burke Museum of Natural History and Culture, University of Washington)


Worldwide, the emergence of baked clay and ceramic technology is traditionally associated with increasingly sedentary lifestyles and the development of agriculture in antiquity. High mobility and low population, characteristics of most hunter-gatherer groups, did not favor the production of ceramics.  Nevertheless, various hunter-gatherer groups developed or adopted ceramic technology in diverse environmental settings. While research on this topic is expanding, little is known about the character and antiquity of clay and ceramic technology in the Pacific Northwest.  This pilot research project is aimed at addressing this problem and setting the stage for future research through grey literature review and collections research at various regional repositories.  The focus is on establishing the temporal and geographic distribution of clay and ceramic technology across the Pacific Northwest.   Current project activities include: 1) gathering, analyzing, and synthesizing published and unpublished data on clay and fired clay/ceramic archaeological materials from across the PNW, 2) identifying artifact collections appropriate for future research, and 3) establishing key community connections for future research.

More posts on this project herehere, here, and here.

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