5.3 Class 3

The technical features of potsherds attributed to Classes 3 and 2 are similar. The distinguishing criterion is the presence of a micaceous slip. The majority of vessels belonging to Class 3 are made using Fabric Groups 2 and 3, though in a few instances Fabric Groups 1, 6 and 7 are used. Some vessels are wheel-thrown but most are made using composite techniques. As such, in instances where there are no complete profiles it can be difficult to identify all of the techniques used. However, as we saw with Class 2, the technique of coiling combined with a slow wheel to achieve regular surfaces is evident in the production of bowls with ribbed/bifoliate rim and annular bases.

Traces of smoothing are often visible on both sides. The main defining characteristic of the class is the presence of a slip made of a low proportion of small mica flakes and of a high proportion of mica particles. This was applied on the external surface of the restrictive shapes and on the internal surface of the unrestrictive shapes. In some vessels, such as those belonging to Class 3 variant 2 type 3 (see Lefrancq and Hawkes 2019b), the micaceous slip is visible on both surfaces. Two variants have been defined according to the texture and the hardness of the paste.

Class 3 variant 1 (n=3) (Figure 16)

Only three potsherds belong to this variant (two bodysherds and one base sherd). The paste is compact and hard. This can be due to a higher temperature and longer firing process, as indicated by the colour of the surfaces (10R-7/4 pale red, 10R-7/6 light red, 10R-6/3 pale red). Two potsherds are from Fabric Group 2 and the third is from Fabric Group 4. Clear smoothing circular lines are visible on the internal part of the base sherd. For vessel forms, see Lefrancq and Hawkes (2019b, plate 10).

Figure 16
Figure 16: External and internal sides of base, Class 3 variant 1-base type 1, MHR2002.A2.7. Image credit: Authors.

Class 3 variant 2 (n=123) (Figure 17)

This variant is the most frequent of this class. It is made with Fabric Groups 2 and 3, but in comparison with those of Class 3 variant 1 the texture of the paste is less compact and surfaces are buff-brown rather than red-pink (7.5YR-6/2 pinkish gray, 5YR-6/4 light reddish brown, 10YR-7/3 very pale brown). Traces of smoothing are noticeable on both surfaces.

Mica flakes are visible on the surfaces but not in section. Vessel shapes include: bowls with ribbed/bifoliate rim, pots with in-turned rim and corrugations on the external side of the rim, small pots with an out-turned and round rim, jars with an out-turned rim. For vessel forms, see Lefrancq and Hawkes (2019b, plate 10).

Figure 17
Figure 17: Above: external and internal sides of rim, Class 3 variant 2-type 2, MHR2002.A11.6; below: external and internal sides of rim, Class 3 variant 2-type 3, number. Image credit: Authors.


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