Crafts

Ceramics of the Ancients

It might seem today that the ceramics of the ancients were nothing special, but they were part of how man was able to build communities. Food storage was always an issue during times when fresh food could not be gathered, and that created nomadic cultures around the world. The ability to store large quantities of food for later use was one of the cornerstones of the ability for nomadic tribes to settle down, and ceramics played a large role. Without food storage, modern man would still be wandering from place to place to eat enough to survive.

Jars and ewers were some of the first ceramic vessels used by ancient man to store food. Modern man might use boxes and plastic, but those were not available thousands of years ago. Grains, dried fruits, legumes and oils were all stored in large jars that could be sealed with beeswax. All of these were stored in covered areas for later use, and they could help a family survive throughout the winter and spring until new crops were available for eating.

Seeds are an important part of any agricultural endeavor, and modern man has the same dependency on them as the ancients. Archaeologists have found large ewers and jars containing ancient seeds, and they have planted some of them to see what would grow. Grain seeds were often stored in this manner, and they have produced some new varieties that are just beginning to be used again. Modern man has found the storage vessels of the ancients did their job well, and they have managed to pass down food items that are new to modern man.

While not all ceramics today are considered useful, ancient man had little time or energy to create items with only a decorative value. They might have desperately needed the jars and ewers they used for storage, but some cultures did take the time to create pleasing patterns on them.