What Is the History of Pottery?

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Pottery objects date back to 24,000 B.C. Ceramics and the making of clay objects by adding water and heat is one of the oldest industries in the world.

Some of the oldest pottery dates to Neolithic period and includes items such as figurines that were likely used for ceremonial purposes. Pottery was being made in the early Neolithic period along the Iranian Plaeau. Various ancient pottery items from the Neolithic period also have been found in China, Japan, the Czech Republic, Russia, Africa and South America. By 14,000 B.C., clay tiles were being made in India and Mesopotamia.

Pottery involves shaping clay and heating it in some form of kiln, where the moisture is removed and the shape hardens into a permanent form. Early kilns were often holes dug in the ground. The first clay bricks and storage pottery dates back to around 10,000 B.C.

Much of the earliest forms of pottery were course and unglazed. However, techniques to provide glazes to pottery developed in time as well. Later, pottery from the Iranian Peninsula featured a white coating over earthenware clay. Egyptian potters developed a form of glaze between 8,000 and 5,000 B.C. Eventually, colors were added to the glaze and some of the first pottery with purple, yellow, red, green and brown appeared. These items date back to the ninth century and some have a glossy clear overcoat of gloss.