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INVISIBLE IN ARCHAEOLOGICAL CERAMICS: RESEARCH PROBLEMS ANDRZEJ BUKO Institute of Archaeology. University of Warsaw Al, wirki i Wigury 97/99, 02-089 Warsaw (PL & Institute of Archaeology and Ethnology of Polish Academy of Sciences, Al Solidarno ci 105, 00-140 Warsaw (Pl) 1. INTRODUCTION For years now pottery from excavations has been considered one of the mast important sources of information of archacological data on the ancient people. Its fundamental role was a universal container for many kinds of goods, preserving known and unknown (or difficult to recognize) amount of data about invisible events from the past. However, the enormous analytical potential of ceramics, despite ycarsof ‘experience, in everyday practice remains limited. Many reasons have caused such @ situation the frequent resulting results from low level questionnaire for pottery research ‘The simplest and at the same time the most common investigation pattern is based on the macroscopic analyses of raw materials, techniques and morphological (stylistic) pottery attributes. More advanced approaches include archacological analyscs of scientific methods, of which main the goal is to recognize the physicochemical and petrographical properties of pottery pastes in relation to the provenance studies Similarities andor differences of potsherds and their raw materials define the main core of investigations [2,3] (Buko 1990: 343 ff, 1997, 7). Pottery from excavations, contrary to other materials used by man in the past offer a ‘much wider prospective of analyses through interdisciplinary investigations. Such a prospective is based on the following premises: 1. The durabiluy of ceramic materials through the time ~ what seems to be paradoxical despite the fact that pottery is very fragile and easy to break, most ceramic materials prove to be non destructible even after thousands of yeats. In contrast with many other Finds, which can completely disappear after burial (particularly artifacts made form organic materials), potsherds are sometime the only material indicator of ancient human settlements in the past 2. The mass production of ceramics - resulting not only from its fragility, bu also from the wide range of pottery use in everyday life. As a consequence, pottery sherds - a typical consumption refuse are, as a rule, everywhere present beside animal bones, 6. Tusa nd. Lplanak (ed), Molecdr and Sacral Archacley Coomete ond Therpeiie Choma, 299-261 (©2003 Klar Acad Pblahers,