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6. Ritual Monument Batpalathang B3

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Archaeological Material (part 5)

Pottery Type 1

At least three qualities of pottery ware were determined from the recovered corpus. A first type is a thick, well-burnt, dark brown-reddish ware. It was found in numerous fragments from a single large vessel inside of the chamber fill. The breakage surfaces do not present wearing traces; this indicates that the pot was thrown into the chamber in one single piece. We were able to reconstitute several large parts of this vessel (Fig. 49), but more time would have been necessary to reconstruct the recipient entirely and to make a detailed drawing of it. From the reconstituted parts, we can give following morphological features of the vessel:

the shape is best described as flat ovoid, with flaring opening, and outstretching lip;

diameters (external = 410 mm; internal at opening = 340-345 mm) are not constant, indicating that the pot was hand-modeled, eventually with the assistance of a low-kinetic turning device;

the vessel profile shows a marked and thick lip, about 34 mm large and 15 mm thick;

the maximal thickness is located at the lip; the bottom is, on the contrary, astonishingly thin with less than 10 mm;

the height of the vessel is about 230 mm;

clear remains of carbonization are visible on the outer surface, which indicates that the vessel was used for cooking purposes;

the clay has turned brown-reddish in color through an oxidizing burning atmosphere;

the temper added to the clay is made of very fine sand with high feldspathic content, which gives the ware a superficial glittering aspect.

Fig. 49

Pottery Type 2

We recovered a second type of vessel fragments from within the chamber fill, and some partial reconstructions could be achieved during the campaign. The type 2 is morphologically globular with a closed neck and an obliquely outstretched lip. It is best compared to a classical S-shaped vessel, although the lip is clearly separated from the neck by a marked knick. The material used to fabricate this type of vessel seems to show less firing and weathering qualities than for type 1 pottery, since the inner and outer surfaces of the fragments are mostly rough. The same adjunction of feldspath sand is visible in the paste, but crystalline sand was also mixed to the clay. The color of this earthenware is light beige-gray to light brown. Type 2 pottery shards only rarely wear external traces of carbonization.

The main differences between pottery types 1 and 2 remain in the shape, the paste quality, and the size, type 2 recipients being smaller in diameter and proportionally higher. Although no type 2 vessel could be reconstituted, we estimate that some of the recipients could have a diameter of 130-160 mm and heights of 150-200 mm. No illustration is available for this pottery type excepting the following tentative sketch reconstruction (Fig. 50).

Fig. 50

At this stage, it is impossible to state the precise number of recipients of type 2 that were present in the chamber fill. At least it is clear that most of the shards of type 2 were located in the chamber. No link could be made between shards from the chamber and from the periphery of the central platform. From the total number of pottery fragments, type 2 shards represent about 50% of them.

Pottery Type 3

Type 3 shards are similar to type 2 in shape. The main difference lies in the clay and temper types, being cruder in type 3, and in the color of the ware, which is dark brown to dark gray. This pottery type only rarely wear external traces of carbonization Type 3 fragments represent about 1/3 of the total number of pottery shards.

Pottery Type 4

Type 4 fragments were mostly found around, but near, the platform. They are probably similar to type 2 and 3 in shape and size. The main difference lies in the external surface finish, which is nicely smoothed with a glittering aspect due to feldspath admixed to the clay. The ware is almost black in color. About 20 shards of this type were found in 1999 around the platform (in squares H/1-2 and H/6).

Pottery Assemblage

We can reduce the number of morphologic types of pots to two types: (1) large open vessel with flattened flaring rim, and (2) middle sized and small ovoid recipients with S-shaped profile and obliquely flaring rim.

The number of raw material types is four and should not be reduced until we gain more knowledge about pottery making techniques, analytical composition studies of the paste, and localization of row material resources.

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Copyright 2001, Reto Blumer, Switzerland
Copyright 2001, SLFA Zürich, Switzerland

For problems or questions regarding this web contact rblumer@vtx.ch.

Last updated: 29-05-2001.