Odyssey Online: Near East

Clay, dug from riverbeds, was used all over the ancient world to make bowls, plates, storage jars, small statues, and more.

Clay was fired, or baked, in pits using animal manure for fuel. Firing the clay made it extremely hard and durable. Pottery began to replace vessels carved from stone because it was so much lighter and also much faster to produce.

Bottle The earliest pottery was made by hand by pressing clay into a mold, pinching it into a desired shape, or by attaching layer after layer of separate "coils" of clay and smoothing the clay until the individual coils disappeared.
The introduction of the potter's wheel, on which spinning clay is shaped into symmetrical forms, expanded the possibilities for potters. At first, the wheel was used to form necks and rims that were attached to the handmade pots. Later, as potters grew more skillful with the new technology, pots were formed entirely on the wheel.
Can you match the following pots with the technique that was used to make them? Then let's play the Pot Matching Game!

© Michael C. Carlos Museum of Emory University,
Memorial Art Gallery of the University of Rochester and Dallas Museum of Art
For more information please contact odyssey@emory.edu.
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