Ancient pottery unlocks cultural history

Septembre Russell – Copy editor. “Ceramics: Crucibles of culture,” the exhibit featured this semester inside of the Linfield Anthropology Museum, opened Oct. 15. On display in the museum are bowls, plates and pots created by Hopi, Turkish and Pueblo craftsmen, along with a chronology of their production methods. All are from the Linfield College collection.
Senior Student Curator Gordon Paulsen and Kani Sturgeon, adjunct professor of anthropology, launched the new exhibit with a visit from students and department faculty. Refreshments were served in the Walker Hall foyer as attendees observed the details and patterns of the work displayed inside of glass cases and studied the explanations that accompanied them.
From this unique medium, cultural characteristics can be determined, as ancient pottery serves as an archaeological tool used to gain insight into past civilizations and discover aspects of the lives of their members, such as societal organization, economic stability and religious doctrines — even culinary techniques.
Pottery holds the key to many questions asked about ancient civilizations.
Although the pieces originated in dissimilar places and from dissimilar traditions, there is a common necessity about ceramics cross-culturally: In each instance, the pottery serves a purpose.
The exhibit is one of two presented annually by the museum as educational opportunities for students.
The museum is open from 8 a.m. – 5 p.m. Monday – Friday. Contact anthropology department chair Tom Love, professor of anthropology and department chair, at for more information.

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