and techniques.htm

Unit Book A15

A15-methods and techniques

Processed on 2024-03-21

Date Author Record
2001-08-26 okk Notes on collection of pottery and samples; particularly for features 41, 103, 167. In all cases of stratified material we directed the workmen to collect all pottery and samples. The only cases where we did an initial sorting of pottery in the field were features from the gully or wadi wash, and in some cases topsoil. In these cases the manpower it would take to process such a large amount of sherds (in wadi wash, as much as 6-8 times the quantity of an accumulation feature) was weighed against the value of the information from such a study. In the case of wadi wash it is such an inherently mixed feature that the stratigraphic value of the information is quite small. Still, we know the quantity of body sherds and have kept diagnostics: rim sherds, bases, handles, spouts or other applied parts, and incised or painted wares. Regarding the collection of samples, particularly kiln waste, we collected small quantities of kiln waste as q-items or lots, and to some degree the collection practice varied with context. If it appeared to be a feature which was not associated with any structures and the material was spread out homogeneously we kept a representative sample. In the case of the features 41, 103, 167 there was such large quantities of kiln waste and overfired brick pieces that we kept a representative sample of these from each feature, usually one full bag. All of these features were accumulations with no clear association with structures. Misfired sherds or "kiln wasters" would usually have gone into the pottery q-lots and then processed by the sherd yard. In a few cases where they were identified immediately we kept them as q-items. An item of note; there has been some confusion about what to call kiln waste, as it has been called alternatively slag or kiln waste. In addition, there was often no clear differentiation between "kiln waste" and "kiln waster". After the first week or two of excavation we determined that slag was incorrect as it refers specifically to the by-product of metal production, and is a mix of metal and surrounding components. To distinguish it, it is usually quite small pieces, is heavy and black or dark grey in color (yt). We have been calling kiln waste two different items which are both by-products of ceramic production; the first, green vitrified globules, and the second, dark grey-green chunks with air bubbles and calcium carbonate which look similar to basalt. The distinction between these two is that the green vitrified globules are usually light green in color and seem to be melted from over-fired ceramic sherds. This is based on a sherd that we found this season, which had large melted drops of this green material melting from the sherd. Also in the kilns this year there is a dark green vitrified material that is from the high temperature firing of the soil. The second material is the result of the earth around a kiln being fired and is usually dark grey in color. One of the verifications of this is the large pieces of calcium carbonate in this material which is found in large quantity in the local soil. In addition, yt identified some important items to collect, particularly any evidence of kiln wasters or misfired sherds and any evidence of the fuel used such as animal dung or bones which is sometimes fused in the kiln waste material. [Input: L826okk1.j]
2001-09-17 okk due to a faulty scope, the relays prior to L710 have incorrect elevations. It is unclear whether the scope was broken from the beginning of the season, or part of the way through, but the type of error cannot be easily corrected. We retook key elevations for features using the levelleer, so only a few unrecoverable accumulations and items would be effected. [Input: L917okk2.j]
2002-09-25 jw jW finished describing and storing all the objects which were held over from MZ14. Most were associated with the analysis of the kiln by the ceramic manufacturing specialist, yt. As part of the process of wrapping up, jlw noticed that no routing log entries had been made during the entire season of A15 South excavations. In the process of completing the log, he also noticed that not all the objects recovered during the regular season (L726 to L804) in A15 South had been described in the record. It is possible that vp did indeed describe them and did not enter the data, but that cannot be verified. Four q-items(620.1, 628.1, 645.1(all grindstones) and 683.2(wheel)) are noted in the q-item log as being recovered in the field but nothing further is in the record about what happened to them in the house. Similarly, four items(206, 207, 208(large, possibly restorable jars) and 218(clay object)) lack descriptions in the record or accounting for what happened to them once they left the field. It is likely that the jars are in the pottery incoming area, but we must wait until next season to check them as all such material will be moved to a new storage room that is being built. The small wheel, i220 was described by yt, but is not in storage. In the future units must track objects through all stages of processing. There is a tendancy to assume that if objects go to a specialist straight from the field, total responsibility for the object shifts to the specialist. Of course, the unit staff has the ultimate responsibiltiy to record progress. Better registration systems are now in place and they must be supplemented by daily diligence in keeping records by the unit. Specialists must also make available to the units information about what is happening to the objects. [Input: M925jw.j]