In contrast to the nomadic hunters and gatherers of the early stone age, people began to settle in houses and depend on farming and agriculture after the paleolithic era ended.
Human history is full of inventions, and some of them seem pretty useful in our daily lives today. It would be terrible and troublesome to live without vessels or pots.
Pottery, also known as ceramics, forms storage places using clay or other ceramic materials. Later, pottery transformed into a skillful art describing different cultures. Farming bought with it other discoveries such as the potter's wheel. This made pottery much more manageable and smoother. More people could build it to store surplus food storage in every household.
Stone Age Pottery: History
Some stone age inventions might be something as simple storage vessels or pots, but can you ever think of an alternative to survive a day without using such everyday items?
At first, archeologists believed that the development of pottery techniques started in the Neolithic age or the new stone age period. By that time, society transformed from nomadic hunters and gatherers to agricultural settlers and farmers. So it made sense to the historians that people who lived during that era felt the need to store the surplus products somewhere, and accordingly, they came up with the idea of manufacturing utensils. However, those utensils were much different from those we use today.
Recently, more evidence suggests pottery existed on earth, even in the Paleolithic society. Remnants of pottery dating back to approximately 18,000 years have been excavated from the Jiangxi Province of China but examining them is challenging because of their age. The early Paleolithic pottery was restricted to east Asia, particularly China and Japan. This later spread to Egypt, Persia, and the Mediterranean before arriving in Greece. In the Americas, pottery developed from the Amazon basin and was later adapted by different North and South American regions.
The Making Of Stone Age Pottery
In the stone age, metal objects were not available, so clay or other ceramic material was only used for pottery. Such materials were shaped like a vessel for storing and cooking food. There were specific steps involved in making these potteries.
The material was first crushed, and water was added to soften it.
After it was ready, a sphere was made from the material, and the pot-like vessels were created from the sphere.
A pinch or a thumb pot was made from a single ball, but to make larger pots, more materials were added. This process is called hand building.
The mouth was then opened to form a bowl-like structure following the pinching method.
The rim was formed, and the inside of the bowl was uniformly expanded using a large pebble.
As the structure dried, the surfaces were smoothened using a flint pebble.
Finally, after smoothening all the surfaces, the bowl was ready for decoration. They could be detailed either with the fingernail or with cord rings.
The finished item was dried again for many days before being glazed.
Examples Of Stone Age Pottery
Ceramic art or pottery can be differentiated into three main types: porcelain, earthenware, and stoneware. Earthenware is the oldest type of pottery that was started in the stone age and can be produced at much lower temperatures. The other forms of pottery require a higher temperature.
The first ceramic pot discovered was 18,000 years old, but the earliest pottery art developed in China's Hunan province around 16,000 years ago. Primitive stone age pots and utensils were round-bottomed. These ceramics were mainly made of clay, and the potters avoided using sharp rims for making them long-lasting. The earthenwares were red in color and decorated with materials like ropes and woven hay. While glazing was not used in the early stone age, they were fired in bonfires. The decorating characteristics of pottery developed with time. At that time, geometric shapes on pottery became popular around the world. In the lower Neolithic age, manufacturing burnished vessels and ceremonial vases expressing the culture of humans became common. Designs like a radial spiral, sawtooth lines, and gourd-shaped panels were popular back then.
Early Greek pottery of the Neolithic age is very popular across the world. The concept of pottery in Greece seeped in from their neighbors in West Asia. The earliest form of Greek pottery is known as Rainbow Ware. The pottery started in Greece in 6000 BC, and the earliest products were plain and straightforward. It is now known as rainbow ware because of the way the clay colors mix with each other even though the clay was only black or red.
By the middle Neolithic age, the Greek potters started decorating pottery. They started carving geometric patterns using red and white colors, and this type of pottery was known as Sesklo ware. Sesklo ware became so popular in Greece and around the world that other towns began to produce fake versions of them. Finally, in the late Neolithic age, the Dimini tribe made black and cream-colored potteries and decorated them with striped and spiral patterns. Such a type of late Neolithic Greek pottery is known as Dimini pottery.
Difference Between Stone Age Pottery And New Age Pottery
A few years ago, scientists found out for the first time that the people in the Paleolithic age showed interest in pottery. They made diverse potteries influenced by the culture around them. The differences between the old and the new stone age pottery might not be drastic at present, but it was a massive deal in contemporary times.
The art of pottery developed in the East Asian culture at first and then gradually spread to West Asia, Africa, and Europe. However, in America, pottery culture started on its own without any influence from the Asian and European civilizations. The earliest potteries were crude and rough, but they served their purpose. Their functionality was the reason they spread to different parts of the world. By the new stone age, pottery was established widely in Asia, and several discoveries during that time made pottery much more refined and decorative. The earliest fire-baked ceramic is found in Europe and not in Asia. They started making ceramic products a long time ago but did not make utility products such as vessels until they got the knowledge from the Asians.
Egyptians and Persians started pottery before it appeared in Greece. However, after getting to know about this art, the Greeks utilized it in the best ways possible. The earliest form of Greek pottery was bland, but by the middle Neolithic, they started carving different patterns on the pots giving it an aesthetic look. The American stone age pottery is less descriptive since they were reluctant to give up their nomadic lifestyle. They were into a nomadic lifestyle for quite a while, and the style of pottery grew much different from other places.
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