Ceramics from GaJi12, Koobi Fora Spit
In the west-central portion of the site area, which was well deflated before the site was discovered, there is a thin scatter of pot sherds, occasional grind stones and stone tools. Most of the sherds are undecorated and made of a hard paste with sand temper, and are often quite abraded. These sherds are well-fitted to survive deflation; soft paste pottery does not last long once exposed on the surface. Among this assemblage there are three decorated sherds that are worthy of noting.
The first (upper left), has two rows of deep impressions along the raised margins of a broad groove or channel that runs parallel to the vessel rim, possibly for binding. The surface is oxidized and the paste body hard with sand temper. It is quite unlike the later, Iron Age pottery from the site and may date from the late Pastoral Neolithic or early Pastoral Iron Age.
The second (middle left) is decorated with vertical bands of imbrecated snail-shell impressions on the neck of a pot with an everted rim. The vessel form, the design and technique of decoration all fit well within the range of early Pastoral Neolithic pottery from East Turkana. However, it has abundant organic temper, which is a characteristic of late Iron Age pottery from the regions. Since the Koobi Fora Spit was almost certainly under water when Nderit Ware was being produced, it seems likely that this sherd is from a later period.
The third (lower left) has a paste and temper typical of later Iron Age pottery, and was fired in a reducing environment, which is a also typical of later pottery. It is highly eroded, but you can still make out two rows of stylus impressions that are not typical of the later Iron Age Pottery known from Koobi Fora Spit.
Each white bar is 1 cm. long.
Iron Age pot sherd in situ. This is the same sherd shown in the next image; flip it 180° to match the design.
Black cross section, surfaces and interior not oxidized, finely particulated organic temper. Grooved pottery is the norm in the iron age scatters at GaJi12. Grooves are made in three ways. This illustrates the first type in which the groove is made by dragging a stylus to create a U-shaped furrow with bits of the clay body banked along the margins of the groove. The surface of the pot is not slipped or burnished.
Close-up showing groove morphology, the texture of the paste and organic temper voids.
Iron age with Type 1 grooves and organic residue; in situ.
The same sherd seen face on and with a scale.
Iron Age sherd with grooves of Type 2, in which each groove is started and ended with a punctation. Grooves are U-shaped in cross section. This specimen has an organic residue on the surface.
Another Iron Age sherd displaying grooves of Type 2.
An Iron Age sherd with grooves and punctations as separate elements.
Close-up showing showing groove morphology and organic temper voids.
Another Iron Age sherd with grooves of Type 1.
An Iron Age rim sherd with grooves of Type 3. These grooves are shallow, tend to be flat bottomed, and are textured with oner or two fine ridges. It does not look like the grooves were made by dragging a stylus. Rather, they might be made with a narrow wheel roulette or by pressing a long plant stem of some kind into the surface and letting it burn away during the firing. Fiber temper is abundant in sherds with this decoration.
Close-up of the sherd above showing the groove morphology and fiber temper voids.
Another sherd with Type 3 grooves in which the ridge elements appear discontinuous.
Close-up of the sherd above, showing the groove morphology and the fiber temper voids.
Undecorated Iron Age pot base, with fiber temper and quite reduced during firing.
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