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Dissertation/Thesis Abstract

Dynamics of Ceramic Technological Style and Boundaries of the Sorath Harappans
by Patel, Sneh Pravinkumar, Ph.D., New York University, 2017, 335; 10261636
Abstract (Summary)

This thesis examines the relationship between ceramic production, ceramic style, and social boundaries among urban centers in Chalcolithic Gujarat, India. During the 3rd and 2nd millennium BC, this area was home to both typical Indus Valley Civilization urban sites as well as a number of contemporary regional cultures. Among these different groups were the Sorath Harappans. Defined as a regional manifestation of the Indus culture, Sorath Harappan ceramics showcase a strong affinity to ceramic materials from the Indus core region yet are different enough to warrant a distinction. While many believe this represents a clear sign of interaction between the two, the nature of this relationship is not yet clear. The Sorath Harappan ceramic repertoire presents an avenue to explore one aspect of the nature of cultural boundaries between these different expressions of Indus material culture within Gujarat.

This work utilizes petrographic thin section analysis of Sorath Harappan ceramics to reconstruct ceramic production from multiple settlements including typical Sorath Harappan urban as well as multicultural sites along the borders of the Sorath homeland. When distinct ceramic styles are divorced from contexts of production and consumption, simple correlations between ceramic style and social identity can obscure the careful negotiations and choices involved in maintaining these boundaries. The selection of these sites contextualizes the information derived from petrographic analysis within changes in social, economic, and geologic conditions. Petrographic thin section analysis provides a window into the different technological choices potters during ceramic production within these different conditions. While the results of this study suggest that Sorath Harappan potters did have a unique technological style, the evidence derived from this study suggests that this style varied between sites. Rather ceramic production was influenced by various local traditions that are visible in petrographic thin sections. This study shows that the simple equation of “pots equals people” obscures the various factors that influence the production of pottery and social boundaries within Chalcolithic Gujarat.

Indexing (document details)
Advisor: Wright, Rita
Commitee: Crabtree, Pam, Horowitz, Mara, Krishnan, K., Rizvi, Uzma
School: New York University
Department: Anthropology
School Location: United States -- New York
Source: DAI-A 79/02(E), Dissertation Abstracts International
Subjects: Archaeology
Keywords: India, Indus Valley civilization, Petrography, Social boundaries, Sorath Harappan, Technological style
Publication Number: 10261636
ISBN: 978-0-355-40684-9
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