[Clayart] Women and clay

Vince Pitelka vpitelka at dtccom.net
Sat Apr 21 21:16:31 EDT 2018

Hi Robert - 
As I said in a previous message, the hunter-gatherers of the Paleolithic discovered the phenomenon of fired clay and made small figurines and amulets, but clay pots don't travel well, so it was not until the Neolithic and the settled life of farmers and herdsmen that people started making pots as regular household accessories.  Your use of "Neolithic" is a bit confusing, because of course the Neolithic is the New Stone Age when humans began settling in villages as farmers and herdsmen.  It was during the Paleolithic that humans were hunter-gatherers.  I know that there is some spillover and that the distinctions are different in every part of the world.  
- Vince

Vince Pitelka
Appalachian Center for Craft
Tennessee Tech University
vpitelka at dtccom.net  

-----Original Message-----
From: Clayart [mailto:clayart-bounces at lists.clayartworld.com] On Behalf Of Robert Harris
Sent: Saturday, April 21, 2018 7:22 PM
To: Clayart international pottery discussion forum <clayart at lists.clayartworld.com>
Subject: Re: [Clayart] Women and clay

​The earliest ceramic piece found is the Venus of Dolní Věstonice - not pots. It dates to 25,000-29,000 BC. Significantly earlier than the first potential ceramic pots from China that are tentatively dated to 18,000BCE (there is some problem with the dating in this particular case, and the next earliest pots are Jomon at 10,000BCE.

Although it is thought to be something of a religious object, there's actually no evidence that this is the case. Certainly there is nothing about it that implies it was made by a woman or a man.

We know so little about neolithic hunter gatherers, and we have to remember that domestication of plants around 10,000 BCE totally changed everything about how humans lived their lives. The tribal societies for which we have good evidence - even the nomadic hunter-gatherers are likely to have lived significantly different lives from the Neolithic humans that had no concept of domestic plants or animals (except possibly half-tame wolves).

On Sat, Apr 21, 2018 at 10:39 AM, Jim Brown <jbrown1000 at gmail.com> wrote:

> " With the transition to the Neolithic, people started making pots for 
> practical use, but there is no evidence that it was women." - Vince
> Well, my first question would be, "Who were the ones using the pots?"
> Second, "Who were the ones tending the fires?"  Third, "Who were the 
> ones doing the cooking?"
> Agreed that both men and women did take part in all the above but 
> think most would agree that most of the answers to the above would be women.
> Since it was women that were in close contact with the above, it would 
> seem that women would be more likely to have made a pot out of clay 
> while the men were more likely to have been making spear points.  As 
> for little animals, etc., my guess goes to the children.  :)
> *                       JIM BROWN*
> *                 BROWN POTTERS*
> *  "Making handmade pottery . . . *
> *                                                . . . since the 1700's"  *
>                    *   386 479-4515*
> *            www.brownpotters.com <http://www.brownpotters.com>*
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