A selection of ceramics through the ages (5 second delay) Ashmolean Museum of Art and Archaeology The Collections:
PotWeb: Ceramics online
@ the Ashmolean Museum
Early Europe & Near East
Classical to Medieval
Europe from 1500
Oriental & Islamic
The ABC of pottery in archaeology
Why is pottery useful to archaeologists?
Pottery is durable and survives well in quantities large enough to be useful in statistical analysis. Frequently it is the most abundant class of material recovered in the course of archaeological investigation. It can be studied through documentary, art-historical, chemical, physical and archaeological techniques, leading to the formation of typological and chronological sequences. An early example of a typological series was achieved at Oxford on material in the Ashmolean's collection, from excavations at the New Bodleian Library.

Pottery is also a reflector of the social and physical environment in which it was made and used, and is therefore an indicator of change in social traditions and social patterning. It is an important resource for interpreting the past.

Baluster type jugs
Baluster type jugs, a key product, from the innovative Brill/Boarstall workshops in Buckinghamshire can be arranged into a typological sequence
What is it? The ABC of ... Where does it come from?
© Copyright University of Oxford, Ashmolean Museum, 2000
The Ashmolean Museum retains the copyright of all materials
used here and in its Museum Web pages.
last updated: jcm/27-jun-2000