For the last few months I have been stuck in the office analyzing prehistoric ceramics. These artifacts (along with a lot of other amazing finds) were found during an excavation that my company did in St George last summer.
The 30,000 ceramic artifacts were brought back from the excavation, cleaned, cataloged, and then given to me to analyze.
I then take the ceramics and divide them into piles according to their type.
Next, each sherd is clipped and looked at under the microscope so that we could identify the temper.
If the sherd is decorated, shaped, or unique in any way then it is further analyzed.
[White Ware, Sosi, North Creek Black on Gray, Quartz Sand Temper]
By the decoration and the temper, we can tell the date range that the ceramic sherd dates to.
The process is long and can be boring but we learned a lot about the sites that were excavated!
I was also able to break up the repetition of analysis by reconstructing a bowl!
[I used a fancy glue to reconstruct the bowl and the tape is just to hold it until the glue dries]
The bowl is pretty unique. Based on the design elements the bowl should be called "Washington" style (which usually dates 800-950 AD). However, based on the sparseness of the design it is likely that the bowl is "Mesquite" style (which dates 400-800 AD).
Based on the design, temper, and the location in which it was found (a pit house); the bowl likely dates to the early 700s AD.
I love discovery!