; REGIONAL VARIATION IN KENTUCKY FORT ANCIENT SHELL TEMPER ADOPTION
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REGIONAL VARIATION IN KENTUCKY FORT ANCIENT SHELL TEMPER ADOPTION

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Variation in the rate and timing of shell temper adoption in the middle Ohio Valley is examined by comparing the temper profiles of Fort Ancient (A.D. 1000-1750) sites located in northern and central Kentucky. Shell temper began to be used ca. A.D. 900, and by A.D. 1400, it was the only temper in use. Since its adoption was not swift, shell temper apparently was not a significant technological improvement over limestone temper. In central Kentucky, it took 100 years longer for shell to completely replace limestone as a tempering agent than it did in northern Kentucky. Environmental and cultural factors may account for this variation. Village proximity to dense freshwater mussel shell beds, ease of access to these beds, regional ceramic manufacturing traditions, and social interaction networks may have influenced Early and Middle Fort Ancient potters' choice of temper. However, with the introduction of new vessel forms and possible improvements in ceramic firing techniques after A.D. 1400, shell's platy characteristics may have offered Late Fort Ancient potters some technological advantages. [PUBLICATION ABSTRACT]

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