Faculty Publications


Pottery use-alteration as an indicator of socioeconomic status: An ethnoarchaeological study of the Gamo of Ethiopia.

SelectedWorks Author Profiles:

John Arthur

Document Type


Publication Date


Date Issued

January 2002

Date Available

February 2012


The use of a pottery vessel leaves markers on the ceramic wall that can inform archaeologists how the vessel functioned in the past. At present, archaeologists have little information for understanding how use-alteration reflects the complex nature of ceramic function and socioeconomic status. I conducted a 2-year ethnoarchaeological research project among the Gamo people of southwestern Ethiopia, who continue to produce and use pottery on a daily basis. This research indicates that interior surface attrition occurs primarily on pottery vessels used in wealthy households because of fermentation processes from high-status foods. Thus, the Gamo example suggests that there is a relationship between ceramic use-alteration and household socioeconomic status.


Abstract only. Full-text article is available only through licensed access provided by the publisher. Published in Journal of Archaeological Method and Theory, 9(4), 331-355. Members of the USF System may access the full-text of the article through the authenticated link provided.




Kluwer Academic/Plenum Publishers

Creative Commons License

Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 4.0 License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 4.0 License.