How Do You Identify Pottery?


Quick Answer

A collector can identify pottery by checking whether an earthenware or stoneware object is curved, has regular patterns and glazes, and whether the object's material matches the local stone. If the item does not match any of these characteristics, it could be a regular stone.

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Full Answer

When a collector finds a piece of earthenware or stoneware, the first step in deciding whether it is pottery or not is to compare the piece with the local stone. If the piece matches the local stoneware, it could be pottery or part of a statue.

To ascertain the nature of the article, one can check whether the earthenware has curves. Since most pottery vessels have curves that do not occur in nature, regular curves are usually evidence of pottery. To determine that the piece of earthenware is pottery, the collector needs to check for regular patterns and glazes. If the piece has regular patterns, it is most likely to be pottery. Naturally occurring stoneware that has regular patterns is very rare, as the West Yorkshire Archaeology Service asserts. In addition, if the piece has a glaze, it is likely to be part of a pot.

If the earthenware lacks any of these characteristics, it could still be pottery if it has layered walls. Since manufacturers bake most of the pottery, the cross-sectional view of a piece of pottery often contains distinctive layers of earthenware.

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