So I am pretty much all set up and in the swing of things over here at Atchana. My task this summer is to read the pottery that has been pulled and create a database that includes drawings, photographs and my reading data.

Reading the pottery fabric from an "s-curve" bowl

Reading the pottery fabric from an "s-curve" jar

As far as pottery goes, there is a pretty intense system here because our team excavates hundreds of thousands of sherds a year. First, the excavators find the sherds and place them in pails according to location. At the end of the day, the pails are filled with water and village women wash them to get the dirt off. The next day, the sherds are dry and the excavators take another look. They count and weigh them based on a few characteristics in order to produce rough statistical data. As this is being done, interesting and important pieces are pulled. Imports are sent off to specialists, and any other pulled local ware goes in piles to be photo’d, drawn, and/or conserved.

This is where my job comes in. After the pieces have been photo’d/drawn/conserved/etc–it goes to me before being archived. It is my job to “read” it and make sure it and the information are entered into the pottery database. Since this particular aspect of the database is new this year, I am working through the 2008 pieces so that I dont fall behind in processing the new sherds being pulled out of the earth now.

It’s a pretty important job to make sure that the reading stays correct and consistent, but I am taking the responsibility seriously and really enjoying the job!

–Ashley Sands