Mystery Artifact

pithosphotoFor the last few days, as we go through the ceramics in the apotheke, we keep coming across this one type of ceramic artifact that I did not recognize. It is a flat ceramic disk with concentric grooves on one side, and a very coarse unfinished side on the other. We even found one with a small handle in the middle. It is a bit vexing not to recognize it, because I feel that I should know what it is – even though in my introduction to archaeology class I talk to the class about how hard it is to recognize an artifact’s purpose if it is something a person has never seen. In the class I bring pithos2photoin some obscure items from around my house – a cap for a scuba tank, a golf divot repair tool, a low drag golf tee, a clip for a shelf, etc. – and then enjoy watching them figure out what the items are. For some reason, this is not as fun. This is why a lot of archaeological artifacts are said to be religious items or gaming pieces – these are sort of the two bailout categories for hard to figure out items. Anyway, after some thought it is clearly not a frisbee, a drink coaster, or an early CD. It could be a lid/stopper for a pithos…..or a gaming piece.


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