Ceramics are among the most common type of archaeological material.
Ceramics are objects made from clay that are shaped and then baked or fired at high temperatures in a kiln, making them hard. They come in a variety of shapes and functions, such as pots and bricks, and are highly durable which is why they are interesting to archaeologists. We know from the archaeological record that ceramics started to appear around 3,000 BCE, especially when people began to establish more permanent settlements. As regional contact and trade grew, some ceramic forms, especially from China, became highly prized.
Some of the more notable ceramic traditions in Southeast Asia include the Ban Chiang pots with their distinctive red markings, Thai Celadon (Sawankhalok ware) and Chu Dau ceramics produced in Vietnam from the 12th-17th centuries CE. If you are in Bangkok, the Southeast Asian Ceramics Museum in Bangkok University gives an overview of the ceramic traditions in the region.
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There’s also the Virtual Archaeology page where you can visit Southeast Asian archaeological sites online, or learn something from the Online Lecture Library, or find recent academic papers for more up-to-date research.
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Archaeological Ceramics in the News
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