View Chapters

Book: Searching for Structure in Pottery Analysis

Chapter: Laterality and Directionality in Pottery Painting and Coiling

DOI: 10.1558/equinox.24652


Open learning frameworks allow great variability in the way a specific task can be completed, while a closed learning framework allows little variation. Ethnographic observations indicate that there is a high degree of variability in the execution of tasks within the process of pottery manufacture, and that learning construction techniques requires more structure than learning decoration techniques. In this project, the consistency of the directionality (clockwise versus counterclockwise) of painted lines on polychrome vessels and coiled bases of corrugated pottery was studied to determine tolerance within an open or closed cultural learning framework, and the degree of openness. An experiment was carried out which linked directionality on pots with the laterality of the potter in an open system. These results were then compared with data from archaeological pots from sites in the Point of Pines area, east-central Arizona. Maverick Mountain, Point of Pines Polychrome, McDonald, and Point of Pines Corrugated ceramics were used to extrapolate artistic tolerance with degrees of variation within and between types.

Chapter Contributors