How Were Coil Clay Pots Used in Prehistoric Times?

Written by frank b. chavez iii
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Relatively easy to make, coil pots developed in the stone age and were created by several ancient cultures. The earliest pots lacked decoration and were created primarily for utilitarian purposes.

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Function

Coil pots were used for cooking, storage and preserving seeds for next year's planting. The structure of the pot was often determined by its function. For example, pots for gathering water had indented bottoms so they could be carried on the head while pots for storage were larger than pots for cooking or gathering.

History

Pottery was invented during the Neolithic period. It is thought that clay-lined baskets were used as containers until someone left the basket too close to the fire, which destroyed the basket and hardened the clay. The earliest pottery was found at Catal Huyuk in Turkey, one of the first urban centres.

Construction

Early potters built their pots by hand. They would make a circular base and then build up the body of the pot from coils stacked on one another. The walls were then smoothed and thinned before being fired in an oven or a hole in the ground under a bonfire.

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