Wasabi Peas

A Subsiduary of 'The Wasabi Monologues'


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Greek pottery reconstruction
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liathchan
So, more aabout my Autumn travels.

In Bulgaria I was attending classes and workshops on reconstructing what we call 'hard-fabric pottery' - ancient Greek pottery in this case - for display and research in a museum setting.
(The science bit: Hard-fabric means that the pots are made from clay which has been processed and fired to the clay's peak firing range to create thoroughly fired vessels. Soft-fabric pottery are pots which have been fired at temperatures below the clay's peak range. These require a different process for cleaning and reconstruction, which this course didn't cover.)

The pots we were working on come from the necropolis of the ancient settlement of Apollonia Pontica, which is modern-day Sozopol. They date from the 4th - 6th centuries BC.
The pots are vessels which had been ritually broken outside tombs during the funeral ceremony of the dead. At that time they contained foods, drinks and other sacrificial things as part of the ceremony. Because the vessels were ritually broken in the hearths outside tombs, in most cases all sherds of the vessels are present, and can be reassembled  - with patience.
This was so exciting for me because the material I generally work with is so dispersed that I never get all or even the majority of the sherds of any given vessels!

The sherds look like this when they arrived on our desks:
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This is, under all the deposits and grime - a black burnished pottery one-handled wine cup.


Lots of chemical solutions and patient washing with distilled water is required to get rid of the salts and deposits (I mean mineral salts from the soil, not like your ordinary table salt!)

After cleaning it looks like this:
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As you can see, this is partly assembled and glued already. Soft-grip clips hold the sherds in place while the fast-acting glue dries.The glue is similar to super-glue, and if you make a mistake, a little acetone applied with a cotton ball softens the joint and you can manipulate it until the mistake is corrected.

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Finished vessel. This took basically 3 days to do. It takes more than a day to clean the sherds, it is slow, meticulous work with a toothpick, scalpel, paintbrush, cotton balls (q-tips) acetone and other chemicals to dissolve the encrusting material. Puttin together the pieces takes a day or more, and then filling any gaps, then colouring and polising the filler matrix takes about a day.

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Another of mine, a small salt cellar. I did two of these.

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And an askos, (perfume jar) which someone else started and was making a bit of a mess of so D (instructor) reassigned it to me to complete.

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Our work table. The man in the blue striped top is N. He was helping A, in the grey vest top, with one of her pots.

So that's what our days were filled with, Next time I will show you what we did at night!


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Such painstaking work; I am fascinated. *.* and the perfume jar is beautiful.

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