A Burning Question or, Some Half-Baked Ideas: Patterns of Sintered Daub Creation and Dispersal in a Modern Wattle and Daub Structure and Their Implications for Archaeological Interpretation
By Robert P. Kruger, Ph.D.
BCA Xalapa, Resident Director
Hardened burned clay fragments are often found in archaeological excavations in many parts of the world. Frequently these fragments are the product of wall clay becoming chemically hardened or sintered during the burning of wattle and daub structures. Often, however, these remains and their distributions are understudied in archaeological analysis. This may be due to a lack of awareness of the types of information that can be garnered from this data, but also to the fact that little archaeological literature has focused on the taphonomic processes producing and distributing this sintered daub, making it much harder to interpret. Using modern, experimental, and archaeological examples of burned wattle and daub structures, this article examines patterns of likely sintered clay production within these constructions. Moreover, the distribution of daub scatters after an undisturbed or abandoned structure falls apart or collapses is also studied to infer probable horizontal patterns of sintered daub distribution that could be detected and interpreted archaeologically.
Full article published in Journal of Archeaological Method and Theory, the leading journal in its field which presents original articles that address method- or theory-focused issues of current archaeological interest and represent significant explorations on the cutting edge of the discipline.