The Non-Diagnostic Sherd Problem: Lessons from Jeddito Yellow Ware Typology
Sociology and Anthropology
Although ceramic types are applied most commonly to sherds (simply because of their abundance), most typologies have been derived at least in part from patterns of attribute covariation on whole vessels. As a result, one typological concern is the “non-diagnostic sherd problem,” where only a fraction of the sherds deriving from a whole vessel share all of the attributes of that vessel. This paper assesses the severity of the non-diagnostic sherd problem for Jeddito Yellow Ware polychrome sherds, demonstrating that it may cause up to half of the sherds from some polychrome vessels to be incorrectly typed. Implications for chronology and social dynamics are discussed, and a preliminary correction for the non-diagnostic sherd problem is offered.
Kiva: Journal of Southwestern Anthropology and History
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