The Utah Pottery Project: Historical and Industrial Archaeology of a Pioneer Industry
Sponsored by the Department of Anthropology and Program in Archaeology at the University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign.
Location: 209A Davenport Hall, Thurs., February 24, 3:00 pm
Presented by Dr. Timothy Scarlett
Associate Professor, Director of Graduate Studies
Industrial Heritage and Archaeology
Department of Social Sciences
Michigan Technological University
The Utah Pottery Project began as a study of the social business of potting in nineteenth-century Utah, one of the “folk hearths” of the United States. In establishing the project, I sought to design a study that capitalized upon archaeology’s interdisciplinary potential in the broadest sense of that term, intertwining the sciences, arts, and humanities in a single intellectual effort. Now that we have demonstrated the power of this approach, the study is evolving in two directions. First, my collaborators and I continue expanding archaeometric and historical analyses of trade and exchange, tracing routes of social interaction and weighing their significances. At the same time, we have begun detailed, ecobiographic studies of individual potters, shops, and potting groups. Immigrant potters had backgrounds that varied from industrial workers and managers to artisanal apprentices in many different social and technological contexts. The colonization of Utah provides an opportunity to study individuals engaged in social processes which otherwise appear as anonymous in the archaeological record, of particular interest are technological creativity, technology transfer, adaptation, and landscape learning.