Fragments of Colour

As an archaeologist or ceramicist, imagine you have just been presented with a fragment of glazed pot that would be crucial to the interpretation or dating of an associated find or feature. However, in this instance you are uncertain or unfamiliar with this particular pottery type, or perhaps opinions are split among your colleagues.

Now imagine that you are handed a device that can tell you objectively not only the pottery type, but its distribution, dates, and known production sites, as well as any relevant research associated with that pottery type; allowing you to gain crucial context for your find or feature.

‘Fragments of Colour’ is an exciting new project that hopes to achieve these aims. Using a relatively simple process related to modern digital photography, combined with a few statistical models, we are working to present a viable solution to a relatively common problem in archaeology.

The project involves an external expert working with YAT’s pottery specialist and Curatorial Team to produce a collection of images to build up a digital code-based pottery reference collection, to which unknown sherds can be compared and matched with their closest counterparts. Once this process has been thoroughly tested, the next stage will be to synthesise a device that can do all of this instantly.

See the project’s progress here: