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Drawing Circles: Experimental Archaeology and the Pivoted Multiple Brush

John K. Papadopoulos, James F. Vedder and Toby Schreiber
American Journal of Archaeology
Vol. 102, No. 3 (Jul., 1998), pp. 507-529
DOI: 10.2307/506399
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/506399
Page Count: 23
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Drawing Circles: Experimental Archaeology and the Pivoted Multiple Brush
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Abstract

This study explores a variety of multiple brushes that have been used by potters of different periods and places to decorate their wares. Following an overview of the history of scholarship on these devices, special attention is given to the mechanically drawn circles and semicircles of various Mediterranean wares in the Early Iron Age, particularly Aegean Protogeometric. Earlier arguments put forward to show that such concentric motifs could not have been drawn with a multiple-brush device are challenged. To this end, alternative types of multiple-brush devices were made and tested and the result of these experiments was the construction of a pivoted multiple brush that could easily replicate all the details observed on ancient pottery, including errors and idiosyncracies. This device, fashioned from material readily available to ancient potters, is presented in this article. The question of the origin of this "technical innovation" is discussed and an attempt is made to place it where it belongs: in the potter's workshop.

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