At the site of Co Loa, researchers (including UW Anthropology’s Nam C. Kim) are examining the foundations of power in Southeast Asia – featured in the latest issue of Archaeology Magazine.
Mark Kenoyer knows from the pleasing “ting” of a piece of pottery, when struck by a single finger, just how hot the kiln that fired it must have been.
He can also tell by the scent cast by an actively firing kiln whether it has reached the proper temperature for vitrification — the process of slow heating and rapid cooling that seals the pores in the clay and makes the pottery impervious to water.
A current article in Ars Technica discusses archaeological work that is bringing a new picture of the urban center of Angkor Wat in Cambodia, including the work of Alison Carter (PhD, 2013): “How archaeologists found the lost medieval megacity of Angkor”
To learn more about everyday life in Angkor Wat, University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign archaeologist Alison Carter has done excavation work on some of the residential mounds inside the enclosure. In 2015, she got funding from the National Geographic Society to excavate one of the residential mounds identified via LiDAR. Carter discovered what appears to be the remains of a brick stove, complete with ceramic vessels for cooking. Chemical analysis revealed remains of pomelo fruit rind, seeds from a relative of the ginger plant, and grains of rice. This is what archaeologists call “ground truthing,” and it’s further confirmation that the mounds we see in LiDAR are actually from households rather than other structures.
Carter is now a Visiting Assistant Professor at the University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign.