Imbricated rows of stylus impressions on a sherd from the Jarigole Pillar Site (GbJj1)

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Introducing Ceramics from the Jarigole Pillar Site


Classic Nderit Vessel from the Jarigole Pillar site.
    1. Classic Nderit vessels are decorated on the outside with bands and panels of imbricated stylus impressions and on the inside with rough scoring. They are most commonly bowls that are shouldered or carinated.


Classic Nderit beaker from the Jarigole Pillar site.
 
  2. Rim sherd from a beaker, covered with panels of imbricated stylus impressions separated by narrow strips arranged in a geometric pattern. It is decorated with vertical brushing on the interior.
  Imbricated stylus technique is still used by pastoralists. This is the front panel of a Karamajong head dress from northern Uganda: Clay applied to human hair, decorated with panels of impressions, then painted to highlight panel subdivisions.

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Rim sherd with evulsed impressions from the Jarigole Pillar site.
 
  3. Simple stylus impressions are created when the clay moist and moderately plastic. They are absorbed in the clay body of the vessel or spread through the thickness of the wall to create low, intersecting bulges on the interior. Evulsed stylus impressions are made when the clay body is wet and highly plastic. The clay body is usually a very soft paste with minimal temper. The stylus is manipulated to lift a portion of the clay body above the surface of the vessel while also depressing a portion very deeply, noticeably deforming the interior of the vessel. The vessel is not slipped or burnished, but sometimes painted prior to firing. The impressions are often filled with red ochre.

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Sherd with panels of normal and evulsed impressions from the Jarigole Pillar site.
 
  4. This is a sherd from the shoulder of a small jar. In the center are panels created using simple, imbricated stylus impressions. At the left is a panel created using stylus evulsion. The clay body has been pulled up and rolled over into small, pastry-like logs. If you look closely, you can see how these are raised above the surface of the surrounding vessel.

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Vessel of mixed panels from the Jarigole Pillar site.
 
  5. This is a large bowl with a deeply inturned rim. It appears to be covered with a fired red paint, with the decoration of stylus impressions and grooves added after the paint was applied and before firing. Notice how the rim was canted so that it would be level with the ground when the pot was turned upside down.

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Beaker with grooved panels from the Jarigole Pillar site.
 
  6. When grooves are used in panels and bands on the exterior of a vessel, it is less likely that the interior will be decorated. In this case, the rim of what is possibly a beaker has been decorated in vertical bands of alternating diagonal fields of grooves. These grooves were made in an nuslipped, unburnished surface and then covered with paint that was fired. The paint appears to have two layers, a thick under-layer, which is yellow, and a thin over-layer, which is dark red; possibly an artefact of firing.

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Deep zig-zag cuts decorate a large bowl from the Jarigole Pillar site.
 
  7. This large bowl from Jarigole is decorated with deep zig-zag cuts pressed into its unslipped, unburnished ourter surface. Vessels that are aggressively decorated on the exterior surface more frequently have aggressively created interior decoration; in this case, pocket evulsions.

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Comb Stamped variant of Nderit Ware from the Jarigole Pillar site.
 
  8. Panels of impressions are also created through the use of comb stamping in which a toothed implement is repeatedly impressed in the clay body. Shown here is a bowl with an slightly everted rim. The impressions on it were made with a toothed implement similar to the one, below, also recovered from the Jarigole Pillar site.

Ostrich Eggshell Comb Stamp from the Jarigole Pillar Site  TOP  Home


Comb & Channel variant of Nderit Ware from the Jarigole Pillar site.
 

  9. Comb stamping is used most commonly in the Comb & Channel variant of Nderit pottery. In this variant, large design elements are outlined with burnished channels and the intervening spaces are filled with comb-stamped rows of impressions. Vessels are frequently slipped and burnished before decoration. Large, looping, curvilinear designs are most common, but angular panels also occur.

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Comb & Channel variant of Nderit Ware from the Jarigole Pillar site.
 
  10. Comb & Channel bowls are sometimes oblong and frequently have unusual rim forms, like this rim that is alternately folded in and out and is graced, evidently, by pairs of breasts.

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Comb & Channel variant of Nderit Ware from the Jarigole Pillar site.

Ripple Variant of Nderit Ware from the Jarigole Pillar site.
 

  11. This sherd is typical of vessels decorated with burnished ripples. Typically, the vessel is covered with a pigmented red slip and then burnished vertically with the edge of a pebble, such as the one shown below. The ripples are usually articulated much as the ripples of a sand dune, as seen below. This allows the curvature of the vessel to be accommodated easily by regulating the number of design elements as the circumference of the vessel grows and shrinks.

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Ripple Variant of Nderit Ware from the Jarigole Pillar site.
 

  11a. This is from a vessel with an in-turned rim. As you move down the vessel from the rim, its circumference becomes greater. In order to obtain long, parallel ripples such as these, it was necessary to make the width of each trough greater as the circumference became greater.

This sherd has been badly weathered, but you can see small traces of the pigmented slip here and there if you look closely.

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Ripple Variant of Nderit Ware from the Jarigole Pillar site.
 

  12. In this version of the Ripple variant, the pigmented slip has first been burnished into small, cup-shaped depressions and then over-burnished to round the lips between these depressions. This vessel has an up-turned rim

Similar designs can be found in nature. Below is a photograph of underwater ripples of a sort that is common along the south side of the spit at Koobi Fora.

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Decorated bossed vessel from the Jarigole Pillar site.
 

  13. Large, thick jar with portions of the body wall punched outward to form bosses, which are the center-points for organizing the decoration on the outer surface of the vessel. In this case there is a diamond-shaped panel of imbricated stylus impressions surrounded by burnished grooves. The exterior is covered with a burnished red pigmented slip that was applied after decoration.

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Bowl with burnished interior from the Jarigole Pillar site
 

  14. This is an undecorated bowl with an inverted rim. It has a dark red, highly burnished slip on both the interior and exterior, and a rim decorated with alternating fields of diagonal grooves.

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Shouldered asymmetrical vessel from the Jarigole Pillar Site  
  15. This vessel has a closed top with a relatively narrow opening that may be slightly off-center or oblong. There is also a fracture at the lower left corner of the sherd that may indicate there was a handle or lug. It is unburnished, unslipped and undecorated.

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Undecorated rim sherd from the Jarigole Pillar site
 

  16. This undecorated rim sherd preserves traces of what may be a "wicker" collar or cap.

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Comb & Channel rim sherd from the Jarigole Pillar Site
 

  16. Rim sherd from a saculated vessel with a comb and channel body decoration. It is unburnished, unslipped, thick and porous.

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