African Pottery Roulettes Past and Present: Techniques, Identification and Distribution

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Anne Haour, K. Manning, N. Arazi, O. Gosselain
Oxbow Books

African Pottery Roulettes Past and Present considers ethnographic, museological and archaeological approaches to pottery-decorating tools called roulettes, that is to say, short lengths of fibre or wood that are rolled over the surface of a vessel for decoration. This book sets out, for the first time, a solid typology for the classification of African pottery decorated with such tools, and forges a consensus on common methodology and standards. It gives an overview of history of research into roulette decoration in Africa and elsewhere Jomon Japan, Neolithic Europe, Siberia, and New York among others; outlines the contemporary distribution of roulette usage in sub-Saharan African today, a 'success story' from Senegal to Tanzania; and proposes methodologies for the identification of selected roulette decoration types in the archaeological record. By achieving standardisation in pottery analysis, this book will help researchers make meaningful comparisons between different sites of West Africa, and thus guide further research on the West African past. As roulette decoration has been such a global phenomenon in the past, the book will also be of interest to all researchers with an interest in ceramics from different parts of the world.