Archaeological Quantification of Pottery: The Rims Count Adjusted using the Modulus of Rupture (MR)

Research paper by D. Mateo Corredor, J. Molina Vidal

Indexed on: 10 Mar '16Published on: 06 May '15Published in: Archaeometry


Archaeological quantification is a recurrent issue in research about pottery, its typologies and its distribution. We accept the validity of other methods of quantification—sherd count, minimum number of individuals (MNI) or sherd weight—but the methodology that we have proposed for quantification of assemblages of archaeological contexts is the rims count, which has to be transformed into coefficients of reference through a correction using the modulus of rupture (MR). Such correctors are obtained through measuring the percentage of preserved rim of a significant number of sherds of each type and establishing the average of that percentage. This quantification method is easily applicable to all pottery types and it is also statistically reliable. Besides, it can be used in any study in which the gross number of rims is published. Finally, in the case of ceramic transport containers, a second correction can be applied by multiplying the corrected coefficient (number of rims × MR) by its average capacity (AC), another corrector that will allow us to gather statistics according to the litres of transported product. We believe that the rims count (the easiest part to classify) is a fast, relatively easy and very reliable method that needs to be corrected using the MR.