Patterned and plain baked clay from pre-pottery contexts in Southeast Sulawesi, Indonesia.

pottery
Photograph (above) and illustrations (below) of baked-clay fragments from Gua Talimbue square E spit 63 with lunates—lengthwise repetition producing rounded zigzags (left) and repetition perpendicular to length (right) (photograph by Fakhri; illustration
Bulbeck, D., O’Connor, S., Fakhri, Fenner, J. N., Marwick, B., Suryatman, Wibowo, U. P. (2019). Patterned and plain baked clay from pre-pottery contexts in Southeast Sulawesi, Indonesia. Antiquity, 93(371), 1284-1302

Excavations of pre-pottery levels at Gua Talimbue and Gua Sambagowala in Southeast Sulawesi, Indonesia, have yielded nearly 4kg of baked-clay fragments, half of which exhibit intentional patterning. The fragments appear to derive from clay hearths. Here, the authors link the patterning on Early Holocene (c. 9900–8800 cal BP) fragments with the intention to enhance the appearance of the hearths’ rims. During the Mid/Late Holocene (c. 4500–2000 cal BP), patterning shifts to the interior surfaces. The effort and specialised skills required to impress patterns on these hearths is, to date, unique in the archaeology of pre-Neolithic Island Southeast Asia.

PDF icon View PDF (2.3 MB)
People Involved: 
Status of Research or Work: 
Completed/published