This page describes some of the basic tools that are used during the preparation of reports on archaeological ceramics. Some relevant web links are included. The topics covered are:
A binocular microscope is an essential tool for the detailed examination of pottery fabrics and identification of inclusions. For ceramics work a long arm stand is essential when viewing large sherds or complete vessels. Most have interchangeable lenses from x10 to x35. For `field' use a small hand lens is invaluable.
The colour of pottery fabrics are conventionaly described by reference to a colour chart, such as the Munsell Soil Color Chart. The Munsell notation (e.g. 2.5YR 6/4) is commonly found in fabric descriptions in published pottery reports.
A rim chart (or radius chart) is needed to measure both the vessel radius and the proportion of the rim represented by a sherd when collecting vessel equivalent statistics.
Initial recording will usually take place on a paper recording form, tailored to the particular requirements of the project, the recording techniques employed and the final destination of the records.