Divergent Pottery Firing Practices at the Advent of the Early Bronze Age: The Social Integration of Crafts and Craftspeople at Kura-Araxes Sites in the Northeastern Caucasus

Abstract

Two separate pottery types, Kura-Araxes and Velikent Fine Wares can be found together at a number of Early Bronze Age sites in the Northeastern Caucasus. These ceramics are strikingly different in their appearance. Velikent Fine Ware bears indications that it may have been fired at a much higher temperature than Kura-Araxes wares. The obvious contrasts in their production raised suspicions that Velikent Fine Wares represented either an import or an intrusive production regime perhaps linked to the advent of Bronze metallurgy in this region or at least relying on a shared pyrotechnology. Prior results of Xeroradiographic analysis and INAA are merged with recent re-firing analysis to examine these hypotheses. The findings suggest that while a specific link between metal and pottery production cannot be confirmed, the emergence of divergent firing practices within an otherwise unified production tradition speaks to complex relationships between craftspeople within Early Bronze Age communities in the Caucasus.

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Correspondence to MaryFran Heinsch.

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Heinsch, M. Divergent Pottery Firing Practices at the Advent of the Early Bronze Age: The Social Integration of Crafts and Craftspeople at Kura-Araxes Sites in the Northeastern Caucasus. MRS Online Proceedings Library 1319, 907 (2011). https://doi.org/10.1557/opl.2011.798

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