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Analyses of Classes 2-4 of Scodelle su alto Piede

II. Function by Type

a. Scodelle su alto Piede: Functions

ii. Class 2: 23-26cm

Example of Pedestaled Bowl without the Pedestal

1. Form

As with Class 1, Scodelle su alto Piede Class 2 is a quite accessible form. While all four forms within Class 2 have inverted rims and are therefore quasi-open, Reperto 1009 is very nearly open, the inverted, or inward-leaning, rim barely breaking the plain between straight and inversion. Although this form contains the standard thickened bipartite rim found only in the Sp/I type, it is also quite shallow when compared to other Scodelle su alto Piede, and the basin depth is close to reaching the shallowness of the Piattelli su alto Piede. If not for the bipartite rim and the lack of a vertical loop handle, this vessel may have been confused for the Piattelli su alto Piede.

Reperti 1004, 1008, and 1018 contain the typical deep basin of the Scodelle su alto Piede type, and although Reperto 1009 is much shallower than the other two within this class, it is still deep enough to be considered a bowl (scodelle) on a high pedestal, and the slightly inverted bipartite rim solidifies its typology. The depths of the basins, along with the widths of 23-26cm, gives a moderate capacity to these vessels.

Only one (Rep. 1004) of the four has a nearly full base; Reperti 1008, 1009, and 1018 have only the very beginning of their stems remaining. Nonetheless, all four correlate to footed vessels, and as mentioned above, elevated footed bases add a level of stability to the vessel, all the while raising the contents within the basins closer to the user.

Interestingly, contrary to the Sp/I in Class 1, those Sp/I within Class 2 do not have biconical profiles. Instead, Reperto 1009 has a hemispherical profile, and Reperto 1008 has a hemispherical but almost conical (V-shaped) profile. This vessel with an almost-V-shape does contain a vertex, but only right below the lip causing a bi-angular eversion of the outside rim, though thickened symmetrically. Reperto 1004, Sp/II, does have a biconical profile, but, as opposed to the other two, it also has two plain, ledge handles unequally placed across from each other. Interestingly, Reperto 1018 has a presumed four handles (only two visible): two large, plain ledge handles on either side of each other and two small, plain ledge handles at a 90º angle to the large handles.

2. Technology

Although all four vessels in Class 2 show signs of a reddish slip, Reperti 1004 and 1008 are quite blackened, likely from reduction during the firing process. Reperto 1009 is also quite blackened, but this appears to be fire cloud from the firing process or burning from the destruction at the end of the vessel’s life as large areas of the remaining slip is exposed. Reperto 1018 has only a little blackening. There is no evidence of purposeful placement into a fire for cooking or heating. All four vessels within Class 2 have been burnished, and there is obvious cracking of the burnished surface. Reperti 1008 and 1009 have very many chipped areas in the burnished surface. Additionally, Reperti 1004 and 1008 show some evidence of horizontal striations, likely from slow wheel manufacturing. Interestingly, Reperti 1009 and 1018 do not show clear evidence of striations.

All four vessels within Class 2 have exposed inclusions, including white and brownish temper, in addition to voids. Voids in all four are angular, rounded, and flat, and these may show evidence of organic temper, such as grasses or dissolved shell fragments. Reperti 1004,1008, and 1018 contain elongated or elliptical voids that may represent, possibly accidental, use of grain or seeds. White inclusions are found throughout each as well, though Reperto 1008 does not contain as many obvious white temper. This may be from the presence of creosote not being able to burn off during the firing process in a low oxygen atmosphere as the majority of the vessel shows signs of reduction. White inclusions in Reperti 1004 and 1009 is sometimes dished or ribbed, showing clear evidence of the use of shell as a temper. Brownish temper in each ranges from a tannish color to a dark brown, including reddish inclusions. These are not particularly well sorted as they range from large to fine specimens, large in Reperti 1008 and 1018 being 2mm and in 1009 being 3mm. In Reperto 1004, one reddish inclusion measures up to 4mm and is angular in appearance. Tan inclusions in this vessel can also be large, and some are angular and smooth. Altogether, the brownish inclusions can be angular or rounded, and these likely represent the use of grog as a temper. Reperti 1009 and 1018 also contains a light gray temper, which may be grog or quartz sand. All vessels within Class 2 are moderately tempered, and likely lacked in strength but were moderately resistant to thermal stress and tough.

3. Use-alteration

As noted above, two of the three vessels within Class 2 show signs of blackening likely due to poor firing conditions, and the third, Reperti 1009 and 1018, show a blackening that may represent fire clouds or depositional damage from fire destruction. None of the four show signs of purposeful use in a fire for cooking or heating. They do show signs of use. All four show patterns of scratching or abrasions at the widest point of the vessel; Reperti 1004 and 1008 have abrasion marks at the vertex of their shoulders, and Reperto 1009, being hemispherical, has abrasion marks on the outside of its rim, or directly under it. These abrasions are likely due to contact with other vessels or objects when not in use. Additionally, Reperti 1004 and 1018, vessels with handles, show chipping or scratching on handles which are the widest point of the vessels on that side.

As with those vessels in Class 1, all vessels in Class 2 reveal chips, dents, and abrasions upon the lips of the vessels at the highest point of the vessels’ rims. These may be representative of continual use from reaching into and out of the vessels by either hand or implement, such as a spoon.

4. Projected Function

As with Class 1, vessels within Class 2 likely served in a transfer function, specifically consumption and serving vessels. The quasi-open nature of the rims add both accessibility (Rice 2015: 424) and restriction to the likely liquid food contents (Maniscalco 1999: 188). The stability of footed vessels and their elevated status makes them useful in both consumption and serving (Rice 2015: 415), as the basin holding the contents is closer to the user’s eyes for visual inspection and dinner-ware for dishing contents into individual plates or bowls, the thickened rims and evidences of use on those rims suggesting that they were used regularly (Rice 2015: 420). While the handles in Reperti 1004 and 1018, being small, ledge handles, make the vessels transportable only short distances (Rice 2015: 421), Reperti 1008 and 1009, both lacking handles, could also be carried short distances (from the hearth to an area for eating). Reperto 1009 could easily be carried by the nature of the somewhat flattish design of the hemispherical basin, and Reperto 1008, having a more rounded basin, could be transported, though likely with much more care.

The elaborate bipartite rim on two of the vessels (Reperti 1008 and 1009) may also suggest a serving or eating function, as the vessel is viewed by both the household family and possibly individuals from outside of the household (Rice 2015: 424). Also as with Class 1, one can imagine a family and any guests sitting cross-legged upon the floor utilizing the elevated vessels either to eat from (close proximity to one’s mouth) or to dish food out from (close proximity in height to the user’s own eating vessel (Maniscalco 1999: 192). As far as whether eating or serving as a primary function, ethnographic studies show that individual use bowls can range from 10 to 23 cm in maximum diameter, placing Class 2 vessels at the maximum, or slightly over, for individual use. Family use bowls in this ethnographic study range from 8.4 to 95cm in maximum diameter with a mean of 24.6cm (Hendrickson and McDonald 1983: 632). With the mean diameter at 24.6cm, the vessels of Class 2 may be more in line with a family or serving use, though two more class sizes exist in the Hut 12 repertoire (28-31cm and 47cm).

iii. Class 3: 26-29cm

1. Form

There are four vessels within Class 3. These have orifices ranging from 26cm to 29cm in diameter, making them quite accessible to the user. All four are quasi-open vessels, having inward-leaning rims closing the orifice. Reperto 1021 is the most open of any of this class, and it is quite similar to Reperto 1009 within Class 2 in that the rim barely breaks the plain between straight and inversion. In fact, in some points on the rim this plain is not broken as the inward-leaning rim is merely upward-leaning. This inconsistency is, at times, to be expected in vessels not thrown on a fast wheel. Only one vessel within this class, Reperto 1021, has a bipartite rim, the others being merely thickened as in other Classes.

All four vessels within Class 3 have rather deep basins, but Reperto 1021 has a basin shallower than the others. Though still a bowl in form, this vessel, as with Reperto 1009 above, is strikingly similar to the Piattelli su alto Piede form of a plate on a high pedestal, the differences being a bipartite lip, an inward leaning rim, and a lack of a vertical, loop handle. Even with the shallow similarities, this vessel, as with the others within this class, held a high capacity of contents within their basins, judging by depth and diameter of orifice.

Interestingly, the shapes of these four vessels are much more diverse than in the previous two classes of vessels. Reperto 773B has a biconical profile, while Reperto 774 is more globular in a hemispherical shape. Still more different, Reperto 789 is quite conical in a V-shape. Finally, Reperto 1021 is something of a mix of the three. This vessel has a clear inflection point between wall and collar, but is not biconical, and it is somewhere between hemispherical and V-shaped.

Two of the four vessels (Reperti 774 and 789) within Class 3 have near complete stems and feet. Reperto 773B has the beginning of a hollow stem, and Reperto 1021 has only the very beginning of a stem visible. Thus, all four vessels are elevated, footed vessels, which as noted above in Class 1, adds a high level of stability to the vessels.

Transportability in all four vessels within this class is low, allowing for only short distances. Reperto 773B has ten pierced lug handles upon the shoulder of the vessel (only three visible), but none of the other three vessels have handles. Carrying any of these four vessels likely occurred by placing one’s hands on either side upon the lower basin somewhat close to the stem, and therefore were likely only carried from the hearth to a place for consumption, likely within the hut.

2. Technology

Only Reperto 1021 can be said to be well made, though Reperti 773B and possibly 774 show signs of striations made from the use of a slow wheel. Each of the vessels were smoothed or burnished, and all contain evidence of a reddish slip, though Reperto 1021 is quite burned on one exterior and interior side, likely a fire cloud from the firing process.

Each of the vessels is moderately included, containing voids and both light and dark exposed and internal temper. Reperti 773B and 1021 do not have as many visible voids as the other two, but all, except Reperto 789, include angular and rounded voids. Reperti 773B and 789 contain elongated voids, possibly from a grass. All voids are assumed to be from burnt or dissolved biological material. White inclusions found within all vessels are rounded, angular, or flat, and Reperto 789 contains an example of a dished white temper; white inclusions appear to be shell fragments. As with vessels within other classes, inclusions are at times light, reddish, and dark in appearance, and these range from rounded to angular. Reperti 773B contains small gray and tan angular inclusions, and all inclusions and voids can be up to 3mm in size. Reperto 1021 also has a maximum of 3mm sized inclusions and voids, though this specimen also includes dark temper. White temper within both of these vessels appear to be somewhat well sorted. Reperto 789 contains inclusions up to 5mm, but these range from fine to large and are not very well sorted. Reperto 774 contains the same as the others, but it also includes a reddish, angular grog and possibly evidence of bone used as temper. Inclusions within this vessel are finer, up to 2mm, but not particularly well sorted. Altogether, these vessels were likely moderately tough and resistant to thermal shock, but lacked in strength.

3. Use-alteration

Much like those vessels above, Class 3 vessels show evidence of attrition in abrasions, denting, or chipping on the lips and often on the shoulders and feet of the vessels. Interestingly, Reperto 1021 shows a pattern of abrasions internally that may be original and from the user cleaning the vessel. These abrasions are somewhat oblong and sometimes straight, and this part of the vessel is somewhat more worn than the others, extending onto two separate fragments.

4. Projected Function

As with above, vessels within Class 3 likely fall into the use of transfer, specifically, here, the act of serving. Unlike vessels in Class 1 and possibly 2, these vessels contain rather large orifices, from 28-31cm in diameter, which, according to ethnographic studies, were designed for family use (Hendrickson and McDonald 1983: 632), the openness of the vessel allowing for high accessibility to the contents (Rice 2015: 424). Of course, this is not to say that individuals did not use the vessel for consumption; strictly that the vessel was likely not designed for thus. As above, footed vessels that raised the contents to the user are often seen in serving vessels (Rice 2015: 415), and the inverted rims suggest a liquid food (Maniscalco 1999: 188). The elaborate bipartite rim of Reperto 1021 and the pierced, lug handles of Reperto 773B are likely decorative and also suggest the act of serving (Rice 2015: 424). Finally, the abrasions, dents, and chips on the thickened lips of these vessels suggest continued use either depositing or withdrawing contents (Rice 2015: 420).

Pedestaled Bowl

iv. Class 4: 47cm

1. Form

The final class of the Scodelle su alto Piede consists of one pedestaled bowl having an orifice of 47cm in diameter. This rather large vessel, like the others above, is quite accessible and quasi-open. This vessel, Reperto 1015, contains the beginning of the stem and approximately one-third of the basin, which is conical in shape with an obvious vertex, almost a corner point, leading to an inverted rim and a squared lip, and therefore the vessel profile can be stated as biconical, though quite unequal. The size of the orifice and the deep nature of the basin gives this vessel a very large capacity to hold contents. Although only the very beginning of the stem is visible, no doubt a wide foot was original, simply based on the size of the orifice.

Due to the size of the vessel, it is highly unlikely that it was transported very far, and the only handle to aid in transportation is a semicircular lug handle on either side of the vessel (only one visible) that does not stick out very far from the surface of the vessel. That said, the conical nature of the lower part of the basin likely helped in carrying the dish when full.

2. Technology

This vessel has been slipped (reddish) inside and out, with very many cracks in the slip. Dark patches are seen externally and likely represent fire clouds from the firing process. This vessel was low fired. The Class 4 vessel appears to have been created in two parts, the basin and the stem, as evidence of layering is seen in the thicker part of the core where the basin meets the stem, and striations visible on the basin may suggest creation on a slow wheel.

Inclusions and voids in this vessel measure up to 5mm in diameter, and temper can be white, reddish, and gray. White inclusions appear quite small and are angular, rounded, or flat, and these may be fragments of shells. Reddish, angular inclusions likely represent the use of grog as a temper, and at times angular limestone pebbles can be seen in the fabric. Overall, inclusions were moderately added and not particularly well sorted, except the white inclusions which appear to be quite fine.

3. Use-alteration

Very many abrasions are seen on this vessel, being present on the shoulder, handle, lip, and internally. Scratches on the shoulder and handle may have occurred during use or during the storage phase of the vessel and likely represent repeated contact with other vessels as these points on this vessel are the widest of the exterior surface. Abrasions, dents, chips, and gashes found on the lip of the vessel are many, and these are assumed to be from repeated insertion and extraction of food stuffs, though the abrasions internally close to the rim appear to be horizontal in nature. Interestingly, the reddish slip on the inside of the basin is unevenly faded deeper into the bowl. Because of the uneven nature of the fading, this was likely not due to a liquid food substance but may represent scrubbing of leftover food stuffs from the surface of the vessel. It is possible that this particular vessel had a long use-life within the household or even multiple generations.

4. Projected Function

As noted above, the inward-leaning rim of the Scodelle su alto Piede form likely suggests that a type of liquid was placed into the vessel (Maniscalco 1999: 188), and the attrition patterns on the thickened rim suggest repeated usage of accessing the contents (Rice 2015: 420). Also, as noted above, footed vessels, with their high stability, are often used as serving vessels (Rice 2015: 415), and the great diameter of the orifice suggests that this vessel was not designed to be used individually but for many users (Hendrickson and McDonald 1983: 632). Concerning transportability, it is important to note that the semicircular lug handle does not stick out very far from the surface of the vessel, and it is likely that it is meant for both decoration and to aid in reducing slippage while carrying, but only short distances (Rice 2015: 421).


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