By Peter Jordan, Marek Zvelebil
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Additional info for Ceramics Before Farming: The Dispersal of Pottery Among Prehistoric Eurasian Hunter-Gatherers
2003: 173). To date, evidence for early agriculture has yet to be identified at northern microlithic sites (Chi 1999: 8). There has been considerable debate as to the practical uses of early pottery in China, although there appears to be general consensus that the early mineral-tempered pottery was invented in hunter-gatherer societies (Zhao and Wu 2000: 236), either just prior to, during, or shortly after the onset of 44 Ceramics Before Farming changing climatic conditions at the end of the Pleistocene (see dates above), and that it was primarily used for the preparation of food, perhaps over open fires, as evidenced by the sooting of several vessels (Zhao and Wu 2000: 237–238).
1988; Keeley 1988; Kent 1992; Layton 2001; Leacock and Lee 1982; Lee 1992; Panter-Brick et al. 2001; Schrire 1984; Shott 1992). In particular, there is a growing realization that the historically documented range of hunter-gatherer societies, and especially those that were often used as general models (San, Aborigines) of band societies past and present, probably represented only a small subset of the diverse hunter-gatherer societies in prehistory (Zvelebil 1998b). Many factors identified by Arnold (1985) and others may well have rendered pottery production difficult, though not impossible, even in some of the most mobile and egalitarian of hunter-gatherer groups.
To this day, there remains an implicit assumption that the earliest ceramic vessels were invented and used by the early farmers; moreover, if pots were a distinctive feature of farming societies, then the dispersal of ceramics must have been linked to the spread of agriculture. Through time, the arrival of ceramics and the spread of farming have become central themes in broader narratives about the transition to agriculture in a post-glacial world. In contrast, the potential role of hunter-gatherer societies in the invention and dispersal of pottery technology has seen much less consideration.