Saturday, March 7, 2009

Ceramics for the Archaeologist online

When I was a grad student in geophysics, working on the paleointensity of Hohokam ceramics, one of my great finds was Anna Shephard's Ceramics for the Archaeologist. That monograph explained so much to me about pottery, with a scientific/engineering bent about materials and processes that I could relate to. Along with the work of Harold Colton, it gave me some of the information I needed about temperatures, redox conditions, etc., for traditional ceramic technology.

Later, I bought Prudence Rice's Pottery Analysis: A Sourcebook, but it was stolen from my office by a book re-seller.

I'm doing ceramics now in my Archaeometry class, and while browsing online a couple of days ago, I found that you can download the entire text of Shephard's book. It is on the website of the Carnegie Institution of Science. That would surprise you from the home page of that organization and its present-day emphases, but it was her publisher.

Download, read, learn, enjoy! You can download Shepard's Notes from a Ceramics Laboratory as well. I'm actually not familiar with that one.

Mission statement of the Carnegie:
Andrew Carnegie established a unique organization dedicated to scientific discovery “in the broadest and most liberal manner.” The philosophy was and is to devote the institution’s resources to “exceptional” individuals so that they can explore the most intriguing scientific questions in an atmosphere of complete freedom. Carnegie and his trustees realized that flexibility and freedom were essential to the institution’s success and that tradition is the foundation of the institution today as it supports research in the Earth, space, and life sciences.
I'm not a fan of great wealth (see where our economy is today, and why), but at least Andrew Carnegie gave some of it back.

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