W6 Reflection Post

This week we were tasked with ordering a series of bottles found at a site using seriation. The Law of Superposition also told us that bottle B was older than bottle L, but gave no further information. The order that I believe that the bottles were originally created is, from oldest to newest, A, C, J, G, B, I, F, K, D, E, H, and L. This order gives a nice transition in both decoration and shape of body, neck, and rim.

Bottles H and L seem like they could fit into the sequence at the very end, as they pick up on the half-decorated body style of E. During this time, however, several changes occur very quickly. Applique and punctate decoration return, then immediately leave. The flanged rim does as well. So do the vertical stripes, but unlike before they only are on the top half of the body.

I believe that this is the result of there having been a significant gap in time between E and H. During this time, bottle design underwent several changes that are not present on the site. Similarly, I believe there may have, at one point, been a design between bottles K and D, which also undergo a fairly large change (the stripes on the body change from a few vertical stripes to many horizontal stripes). However, as the changes are much more significant between bottles E and H, I expect that there were likely more bottle designs between E and H than K and D.

The main feature that caused me to place these bottles where they are is their body shape being not entirely dissimilar to E, as well as their half-decorated style. Honestly, if not for the fact that the Law of Superposition told us that B is older than L, I may have placed L and H immediately before A, and in that order. However, since the bottles from A to K make a very nice transition, giving us B’s relative age to A, H cannot be A’s predecessor.

For the most part, the seriational ordering corresponds well to the findings of the stratigraphic problem we did earlier in the class. There are a few styles that are found in the stratigraphic problem that are missing from this problem, however, including the multi-colored pottery and the undecorated pottery. Perhaps there were no bottles with these decorations (or lack thereof), only pots. However, in the stratigraphy problem, red painted bands occur before the zoned punctate decoration, which would place D and E between J and G. I chose to order the way I did as the stirrup shape experiences a much more gradual change this way. If D and E were to be where the stratigraphy problem might suggest, the stirrups would have changed from massive stirrups to narrow, triangular stirrups for a short time, then back to massive stirrups before finally ending on narrow, rounded stirrups.

2 thoughts on “W6 Reflection Post

  1. After reading a number of posts, it seems that most people agree that vessel A does not fit into the sequence very well. Most people also seemed to have put vessel A as the earliest piece of pottery, and were able to provide good reasons why they believed so. I, however, took a different approach. I thought that, as a result of its appliqué decoration and complex design, it was newer than the rest of the pieces. I explained the punctate decoration and shape of the body as deliberate attempts by the pottery makers to replicate earlier features of pottery. Regardless, your sequence makes sense and can be supported by evidence even though you interpreted the evidence differently than I did.

  2. I agree with your observation that Vessel L and Vessel H fit best at the end of the sequence. However, I had placed Vessel L before H. I chose to do this because of the characteristics I saw in Vessel D (the one prior to L), that I also saw represented in L. To me, this represented the gradual change of characteristics that happen over time, and I saw L best fitting before H. Additionally, I very much appreciate your thoughts on the various options for the sequence order, but I believe we slightly disagree on whether Vessel A belongs in the sequence. I observed that Vessel A did not fit properly into any section of the sequence, despite showing some similarities to Vessel C.

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