To stir the pot even more ... (pun not originally intended!) I have a few questions.

It's generally accepted that the earliest wheel thrown pottery is found all over the world (except the Americas) within a century or two of each other. Say around 3500-3200 B.C. Close enough in time that it's possible it was invented only once and spread very very quickly.  (The lack of wheel throwing in America is also somewhat supportive of this hypothesis). Or did all cultures that were in a position to do so (because of their level of technique) make the jump at the same time. Certainly by that time "civilization" and cities were fairly widespread, and more importantly so were trade routes. (People don't realise that much of the Bronze in the European Bronze age was made from Cornish tin).

The very earliest ceramic technology is not widespread however. As I mentioned earlier, while pots have been found in Russia and Asia that date to 15,000+ years ago, pottery was not found in the Golden Crescent until 6,500BCE or so. Trade routes were definitely less evolved then. It begs the question ... was ceramic technology hard enough that it was invented only once and needed to be spread, which happened much more slowly because of the lack of trade routes, or was it invented separately in each place?


On Sun, 1 Aug 2021 at 14:41, David Woof <> wrote:
I think Vince mentioned this; but it bears repeating, that in the initial forming without aid of the potter's wheel the hand formed vessel's round bottom was hand turned in a corresponding depression in the dirt, or as in Native American Southwest pottery the beginning hand-built form nested its round bottom in a "puki" fabricated of grasses, reeds. or hides.
This is not a theory, as in because "we weren't there" but because many modern folks are still following the ancient ways of the ancestors.

Mel did make a "we weren't there" observation that has far back in time implications regarding Theories that many now attempt to present as scientific fact.                                                                                                                                                                                                  Folks what's wrong with a bit of Mystery to add value to our Mastery.
Must we "know" everything ancient as a certainty to revel in our existence in this time and place.!!!

As usual Snail gives concise information and reasoning on the merits of round bottoms in the presence of uneven heating....see below.

My Muse wants me to fabricate a "puki" for her delightfully small but round Bottom........Oh My!!!!!!...what will she think of next????? This could take a while!!!!

David Woof.........Knowledge of lasting value must be preceded by Awe...............................
From: Clayart <> on behalf of Snail Scott <>
Sent: Sunday, August 1, 2021 7:32 AM
To: Clayart international pottery discussion forum <>
Subject: Re: [Clayart] CLAY LINED BASKETS

> On Jul 31, 2021, at 2:39 PM, paul gerhold <> wrote:
> The question that arises in my mind is if the earliest clay vessels were not made in baskets why are the bottoms so often round?  Round bottoms make very little practical sense for cooking vessels. See any in your collection of pots and pans?

Actually, round bottoms were ubiquitous for historical clay cooking vessels in all pot-making cultures, because the stresses of unequal heating are better accommodated by a curved form. Flat-bottomed pots are subject to greater stresses, as there is no inbuilt curve. Some cultures add three legs to that round-bottomed form to permit standing even when not nestled in coals or dirt, but round is a more resilient and stress-distributing shape. (Flat-bottomed clay cooking pots are usually ovenware, heated evenly from all sides.)

Metal cooking vessels have higher tensile strength, so flat bottoms are no issue, and modern cooktops - gas or electric - are flat to match. A flat-bottomed metal pot is easier to stamp or form than a round one with attached feet, and can sit on a flat trivet.

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