W6 Reflection Post

In this week’s reading of “Seriation: Ordering Archaeological Evidence by Stylistic Differences” by Patterson we find out about certain techniques that are used to date artifacts in archaeology. Using them we date pots which existed over a long time period.

By using the law of superposition and by applying the techniques of seriation, I found the following sequence to be the most appropriate.

→ B, G, C, J, I, F, K, E, L, H


→ Looking at all the vessels, I found that either vessel A or vessel H would not fit into the sequence. I couldn’t decide between the two. Although vessel A seems more likely as it has some different features than other vessels.  


→ The vessel A seemed a bit different from others. The design it had was unlike others. “Applique and punctate decoration over the surface of the vessel”  was a quality partly shared by both the vessels A and H. But certain features were definitely unique. Just by looking at vessel A, one make out that the design on top is different from others. The stirrup of vessel H was decorated unlike others. It also seems like vessel A resembles vessel B, therefore it could not have resembled vessel H. Therefore, I would go with vessel A.


→ So we are told that vessel B is older than vessel H. According to the sequence I established earlier, I would say that it should go somewhere between B or C or maybe before that, as they are the most that it resembles to. Chronologically speaking, that would make vessel A the oldest and vessel H the newest. I also believe that there is a large gap between vessel A and others which could explain why it is so different from others.


→ In both the problems we see a variety of pots being examined. We used the techniques of seriation and superposition to examine the vessels and find the approximate relative ages. By making a chart of their characteristics, we can see what all characteristics stand out and what all overlap. It became more difficult in problem 2 as the number of pots significantly increases. But it shows how we can find relative ages of artifacts that belong to the same strata and with similar characteristics with ease. With this technique we were able to find the relative ages of pots which existed over a thousand years time period. I would love to apply this technique to more such samples.

One thought on “W6 Reflection Post

  1. I agree with your statement of Vessel A not fitting in closely enough with the other vessels, but vessel H is very similar to the later vessels listed in your seriation that I included it at the end of the sequence. Vessel B is known to be older than Vessel L, but if you put H closer to those that have similar bodies then B would be older than H. I don’t agree with your placement of H between B and C because it is so different when looking at their pictures. A question I have for you is where would you place Vessel D in your sequence? Overall, I agree with your order of seriation of the Vessels as they increase from simple designs to more complex pottery.

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