From the Field to the Publication: The Retrieval and Presentation of Pottery a Case study from Early Iron Age Tel Kinrot, Israel

Research output: ThesisDoctoral ThesisMonograph

Abstract

All research is bound to be selective about what to include in a study. The archaeological record is inherently only partially preserved due to the effects of ancient discard patterns and natural phenomena over time. These natural and anthropogeneous formation processes have been studied, but the consequences of research-based selections have been largely ignored. I investigated the impact of a deliberately designed archaeological retrieval strategy on the resultant artifact assemblage, both as to its size and quality. By retrieval strategy I mean the criteria that are used when deciding which material is to be kept from all the excavated material. The material that is discarded during fieldwork is typically dumped at the excavation site, and its contextual information is lost. Therefore, the discarded material is reduced in quality to that of stray finds. The recovered and kept material undergoes another selection process when only a part of this assemblage is selected for further, more detailed study. Even though archaeological reports only present a fraction of the recovered material, the criteria used in this material selection are constantly absent from archaeological reports. Ceramics typically constitute the majority of finds, and are usually reported as a typology. However, without knowing the selection process that the material went through to form the typological assemblage, our confidence in the final results is reduced. My typological analysis of the Tel Kinrot pottery attempts to overcome this challenge by presenting the selection process in detail. I have compared materials from two projects at Tel Kinrot, Israel. The first project took place in 1994 2001, and the later in 2003 2008. The excavated areas of the two projects are adjacent to each other, and the primary formation processes can be assumed to be very similar. This situation, combined with the introduction of changes in the retrieval strategy for the pottery from 2003 onwards, enabled me to assign the differences in the pottery assemblages to the research processes themselves with minimal confusing factors. As the result of my comparison, it is clear that the research-based differences in the materials are strong. Therefore, the retrieval strategies and other selection processes made by the researchers should be explicitly stated in their reports. The retrieval strategies at Tel Kinrot can be divided into two phases: the earlier strategy was used in 1994 2001, and can be described as intuitive selection. This meant keeping material that was considered diagnostic from loci that were considered important. Material was considered diagnostic if its chronological period or function could be identified. This resulted in an over-representation of small containers and lamps, and an under-representation of the most common vessel groups of bowls and cooking pots, in the pottery assemblage. During the later excavations by the Kinneret Regional Project in 2002 2008, an intensive retrieval and keeping strategy was conducted in two newly opened excavation areas. In these two areas, all rim fragments and an informal selection of body sherds were kept. In areas that had been excavated already in the 1990 s, the retrieval strategy followed the earlier practice of informal selection. However, the discarded material from these areas was documented in more detail than the discarded material was documented during the earlier excavations, providing the reader with an improved ability to evaluate the reliability of the results. As a result of the intensive retrieval practice, the pottery assemblage from the newly opened excavation areas is representative of all excavated pottery and therefore statistically sound. The assemblage is quantitatively larger than that from the other areas. Qualitatively, the intensive sub-assemblage in more varying: it includes well preserved vessels, but also a host of small rim shards that are hard to identify as to their function or chronology. Because the researcher-based bias is eliminated, the material of the intensive retrieval phase is better suited to assessing the pottery used and discarded by the ancient population. This constitutes a strong argument for the wide adoption of intensive retrieval strategies.
Original languageEnglish
Awarding Institution
  • University of Helsinki
Supervisors/Advisors
  • Nissinen, Martti, Supervisor
  • Lavento, Mika, Supervisor
Award date8 Mar 2017
Place of PublicationHelsinki
Publisher
Print ISBNs978-951-51-2976-5
Electronic ISBNs978-951-51-2977-2
Publication statusPublished - 8 Mar 2017
MoE publication typeG4 Doctoral dissertation (monograph)

Fields of Science

  • 614 Theology
  • 615 History and Archaeology

Cite this

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title = "From the Field to the Publication: The Retrieval and Presentation of Pottery a Case study from Early Iron Age Tel Kinrot, Israel",
abstract = "All research is bound to be selective about what to include in a study. The archaeological record is inherently only partially preserved due to the effects of ancient discard patterns and natural phenomena over time. These natural and anthropogeneous formation processes have been studied, but the consequences of research-based selections have been largely ignored. I investigated the impact of a deliberately designed archaeological retrieval strategy on the resultant artifact assemblage, both as to its size and quality. By retrieval strategy I mean the criteria that are used when deciding which material is to be kept from all the excavated material. The material that is discarded during fieldwork is typically dumped at the excavation site, and its contextual information is lost. Therefore, the discarded material is reduced in quality to that of stray finds. The recovered and kept material undergoes another selection process when only a part of this assemblage is selected for further, more detailed study. Even though archaeological reports only present a fraction of the recovered material, the criteria used in this material selection are constantly absent from archaeological reports. Ceramics typically constitute the majority of finds, and are usually reported as a typology. However, without knowing the selection process that the material went through to form the typological assemblage, our confidence in the final results is reduced. My typological analysis of the Tel Kinrot pottery attempts to overcome this challenge by presenting the selection process in detail. I have compared materials from two projects at Tel Kinrot, Israel. The first project took place in 1994 2001, and the later in 2003 2008. The excavated areas of the two projects are adjacent to each other, and the primary formation processes can be assumed to be very similar. This situation, combined with the introduction of changes in the retrieval strategy for the pottery from 2003 onwards, enabled me to assign the differences in the pottery assemblages to the research processes themselves with minimal confusing factors. As the result of my comparison, it is clear that the research-based differences in the materials are strong. Therefore, the retrieval strategies and other selection processes made by the researchers should be explicitly stated in their reports. The retrieval strategies at Tel Kinrot can be divided into two phases: the earlier strategy was used in 1994 2001, and can be described as intuitive selection. This meant keeping material that was considered diagnostic from loci that were considered important. Material was considered diagnostic if its chronological period or function could be identified. This resulted in an over-representation of small containers and lamps, and an under-representation of the most common vessel groups of bowls and cooking pots, in the pottery assemblage. During the later excavations by the Kinneret Regional Project in 2002 2008, an intensive retrieval and keeping strategy was conducted in two newly opened excavation areas. In these two areas, all rim fragments and an informal selection of body sherds were kept. In areas that had been excavated already in the 1990 s, the retrieval strategy followed the earlier practice of informal selection. However, the discarded material from these areas was documented in more detail than the discarded material was documented during the earlier excavations, providing the reader with an improved ability to evaluate the reliability of the results. As a result of the intensive retrieval practice, the pottery assemblage from the newly opened excavation areas is representative of all excavated pottery and therefore statistically sound. The assemblage is quantitatively larger than that from the other areas. Qualitatively, the intensive sub-assemblage in more varying: it includes well preserved vessels, but also a host of small rim shards that are hard to identify as to their function or chronology. Because the researcher-based bias is eliminated, the material of the intensive retrieval phase is better suited to assessing the pottery used and discarded by the ancient population. This constitutes a strong argument for the wide adoption of intensive retrieval strategies.",
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author = "Tynj{\"a}, {Tuula Marketta}",
year = "2017",
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day = "8",
language = "English",
isbn = "978-951-51-2976-5",
publisher = "University of Helsinki",
address = "Finland",
school = "University of Helsinki",

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From the Field to the Publication : The Retrieval and Presentation of Pottery a Case study from Early Iron Age Tel Kinrot, Israel. / Tynjä, Tuula Marketta.

Helsinki : University of Helsinki, 2017. 573 p.

Research output: ThesisDoctoral ThesisMonograph

TY - THES

T1 - From the Field to the Publication

T2 - The Retrieval and Presentation of Pottery a Case study from Early Iron Age Tel Kinrot, Israel

AU - Tynjä, Tuula Marketta

PY - 2017/3/8

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N2 - All research is bound to be selective about what to include in a study. The archaeological record is inherently only partially preserved due to the effects of ancient discard patterns and natural phenomena over time. These natural and anthropogeneous formation processes have been studied, but the consequences of research-based selections have been largely ignored. I investigated the impact of a deliberately designed archaeological retrieval strategy on the resultant artifact assemblage, both as to its size and quality. By retrieval strategy I mean the criteria that are used when deciding which material is to be kept from all the excavated material. The material that is discarded during fieldwork is typically dumped at the excavation site, and its contextual information is lost. Therefore, the discarded material is reduced in quality to that of stray finds. The recovered and kept material undergoes another selection process when only a part of this assemblage is selected for further, more detailed study. Even though archaeological reports only present a fraction of the recovered material, the criteria used in this material selection are constantly absent from archaeological reports. Ceramics typically constitute the majority of finds, and are usually reported as a typology. However, without knowing the selection process that the material went through to form the typological assemblage, our confidence in the final results is reduced. My typological analysis of the Tel Kinrot pottery attempts to overcome this challenge by presenting the selection process in detail. I have compared materials from two projects at Tel Kinrot, Israel. The first project took place in 1994 2001, and the later in 2003 2008. The excavated areas of the two projects are adjacent to each other, and the primary formation processes can be assumed to be very similar. This situation, combined with the introduction of changes in the retrieval strategy for the pottery from 2003 onwards, enabled me to assign the differences in the pottery assemblages to the research processes themselves with minimal confusing factors. As the result of my comparison, it is clear that the research-based differences in the materials are strong. Therefore, the retrieval strategies and other selection processes made by the researchers should be explicitly stated in their reports. The retrieval strategies at Tel Kinrot can be divided into two phases: the earlier strategy was used in 1994 2001, and can be described as intuitive selection. This meant keeping material that was considered diagnostic from loci that were considered important. Material was considered diagnostic if its chronological period or function could be identified. This resulted in an over-representation of small containers and lamps, and an under-representation of the most common vessel groups of bowls and cooking pots, in the pottery assemblage. During the later excavations by the Kinneret Regional Project in 2002 2008, an intensive retrieval and keeping strategy was conducted in two newly opened excavation areas. In these two areas, all rim fragments and an informal selection of body sherds were kept. In areas that had been excavated already in the 1990 s, the retrieval strategy followed the earlier practice of informal selection. However, the discarded material from these areas was documented in more detail than the discarded material was documented during the earlier excavations, providing the reader with an improved ability to evaluate the reliability of the results. As a result of the intensive retrieval practice, the pottery assemblage from the newly opened excavation areas is representative of all excavated pottery and therefore statistically sound. The assemblage is quantitatively larger than that from the other areas. Qualitatively, the intensive sub-assemblage in more varying: it includes well preserved vessels, but also a host of small rim shards that are hard to identify as to their function or chronology. Because the researcher-based bias is eliminated, the material of the intensive retrieval phase is better suited to assessing the pottery used and discarded by the ancient population. This constitutes a strong argument for the wide adoption of intensive retrieval strategies.

AB - All research is bound to be selective about what to include in a study. The archaeological record is inherently only partially preserved due to the effects of ancient discard patterns and natural phenomena over time. These natural and anthropogeneous formation processes have been studied, but the consequences of research-based selections have been largely ignored. I investigated the impact of a deliberately designed archaeological retrieval strategy on the resultant artifact assemblage, both as to its size and quality. By retrieval strategy I mean the criteria that are used when deciding which material is to be kept from all the excavated material. The material that is discarded during fieldwork is typically dumped at the excavation site, and its contextual information is lost. Therefore, the discarded material is reduced in quality to that of stray finds. The recovered and kept material undergoes another selection process when only a part of this assemblage is selected for further, more detailed study. Even though archaeological reports only present a fraction of the recovered material, the criteria used in this material selection are constantly absent from archaeological reports. Ceramics typically constitute the majority of finds, and are usually reported as a typology. However, without knowing the selection process that the material went through to form the typological assemblage, our confidence in the final results is reduced. My typological analysis of the Tel Kinrot pottery attempts to overcome this challenge by presenting the selection process in detail. I have compared materials from two projects at Tel Kinrot, Israel. The first project took place in 1994 2001, and the later in 2003 2008. The excavated areas of the two projects are adjacent to each other, and the primary formation processes can be assumed to be very similar. This situation, combined with the introduction of changes in the retrieval strategy for the pottery from 2003 onwards, enabled me to assign the differences in the pottery assemblages to the research processes themselves with minimal confusing factors. As the result of my comparison, it is clear that the research-based differences in the materials are strong. Therefore, the retrieval strategies and other selection processes made by the researchers should be explicitly stated in their reports. The retrieval strategies at Tel Kinrot can be divided into two phases: the earlier strategy was used in 1994 2001, and can be described as intuitive selection. This meant keeping material that was considered diagnostic from loci that were considered important. Material was considered diagnostic if its chronological period or function could be identified. This resulted in an over-representation of small containers and lamps, and an under-representation of the most common vessel groups of bowls and cooking pots, in the pottery assemblage. During the later excavations by the Kinneret Regional Project in 2002 2008, an intensive retrieval and keeping strategy was conducted in two newly opened excavation areas. In these two areas, all rim fragments and an informal selection of body sherds were kept. In areas that had been excavated already in the 1990 s, the retrieval strategy followed the earlier practice of informal selection. However, the discarded material from these areas was documented in more detail than the discarded material was documented during the earlier excavations, providing the reader with an improved ability to evaluate the reliability of the results. As a result of the intensive retrieval practice, the pottery assemblage from the newly opened excavation areas is representative of all excavated pottery and therefore statistically sound. The assemblage is quantitatively larger than that from the other areas. Qualitatively, the intensive sub-assemblage in more varying: it includes well preserved vessels, but also a host of small rim shards that are hard to identify as to their function or chronology. Because the researcher-based bias is eliminated, the material of the intensive retrieval phase is better suited to assessing the pottery used and discarded by the ancient population. This constitutes a strong argument for the wide adoption of intensive retrieval strategies.

KW - 614 Theology

KW - 615 History and Archaeology

M3 - Doctoral Thesis

SN - 978-951-51-2976-5

PB - University of Helsinki

CY - Helsinki

ER -