Welcome to the Early Pottery Research Group

About the EPRG

The Early Pottery Research Group (EPRG) is an international team researching the reasons for the innovation and dispersal of ceramic container technology in prehistory using biomolecular science.

Using lipid analyses and organic geochemical methods we have been analysing some of the earliest ceramics in the world in order to determine vessel use. Since 2007 our research has focussed on ceramics from the circum-Baltic region (Denmark, Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, Northern Germany, Poland, Southern Sweden), Eastern North America, East Asia (China, Japanese archipelago, Russia, South Korea, Taiwan), Southwest Alaska, and more recently France, Spain and Portugal. We are, however, not only restricted to these areas and are happy to foster new projects.

Latest News

27/12/2021 - New paper by members of EPRG, "There’s more to a vessel than meets the eye: organic residue analysis of ‘wine’ containers from shipwrecks and settlements of ancient Cyprus (4th-1st century BCE)" by Briggs et al.

28/09/2021 - New paper by members of EPRG, "Prehistoric Fermentation, Delayed-Return Economies, and the Adoption of Pottery Technology" by Oliver Craig

28/09/2021 - New paper by members of EPRG, "Seeking Prehistoric Fermented Food in Japan and Korea" by Shinya Shoda

24/09/2021 - New paper by members of EPRG, "Reconstructing of Diet and Natural Resource Use at the North Edge of the Kaizuka Culture by Pottery Lipid Residue Analysis" by Shoda et al.

28/08/2021 - New paper by members of EPRG, "The use of early pottery by hunter-gatherers of the Eastern European forest-steppe" by Courel et al.

27/08/2021 - New paper by members of EPRG, "Hunter-fisher-gatherer pottery production and use at the Neolithic shell-midden of Riņņukalns, Latvia" by Spataro et al.

26/07/2021 - New paper by members of EPRG, "Neolithic farmers or Neolithic foragers? Organic residue analysis of early pottery from Rakushechny Yar on the Lower Don (Russia)" by Bondetti et al.

19/06/2021 - New paper by members of EPRG, "Pottery use in the mining site of variscite Mines de Gavà (Barcelona, Spain) during the 4th millennium BC based on organic residue analysis" by Tarifa-Mateo et al.

09/06/2021 - New paper by members of EPRG, "New insights into early medieval Islamic cuisine: Organic residue analysis of pottery from rural and urban Sicily" by Lundy et al.

29/04/2021 - New paper by members of EPRG, "What do “barbarians” eat? Integrating ceramic use-wear and residue analysis in the study of food and society at the margins of Bronze Age China" by Taché et al.

26/02/2021 - New paper by members of EPRG, "Variation in pottery use across the Early Neolithic in the Barcelona plain" by Breu et al.

23/02/2021 - New paper by members of EPRG, "Chemical evidence for the persistence of wine production and trade in Early Medieval Islamic Sicily" by Drieu et al.

16/02/2021 - New paper by members of EPRG, "Organic residue analysis of Early Neolithic ‘bog pots’ from Denmark demonstrates the processing of wild and domestic foodstuffs" by Robson et al.

01/02/2021 - New paper by members of EPRG, "Lipid residue analysis on Swifterbant pottery (c. 5000–3800 cal BC) in the Lower Rhine-Meuse area (the Netherlands) and its implications for human-animal interactions in relation to the Neolithisation process" by Demirci et al.

09/12/2020 - New paper by members of EPRG, "Lipid residues in pottery from the Indus Civilisation in northwest India" by Suryanarayan et al.

03/12/2020 - New paper by members of EPRG, "A Neolithic without dairy? Chemical evidence from the content of ceramics from the Pendimoun rock-shelter (Castellar, France, 5750–5150 BCE)" by Drieu et al.

03/11/2020 - New paper by members of EPRG, "Investigating the formation and diagnostic value of ω‐(o‐alkylphenyl)alkanoic acids in ancient pottery" by Bondetti et al.

22/09/2020 - New paper by members of EPRG, "The emergence of ceramics in Southwest Asia: Early pottery in farming communities" by Gibbs.

16/09/2020 - New paper by members of EPRG, "Walnuts, salmon and sika deer: Exploring the evolution and diversification of Jōmon “culinary” traditions in prehistoric Hokkaidō" by Robson et al.

10/09/2020 - New paper by members of EPRG, "No pottery at the western periphery of Europe: why was the Final Mesolithic of Britain and Ireland aceramic?" by Elliot et al.

02/09/2020 - New paper by members of EPRG, "Resource processing, early pottery and the emergence of Kitoi culture in Cis-Baikal: Insights from lipid residue analysis of an Early Neolithic ceramic assemblage from the Gorelyi Les habitation site, Eastern Siberia" by Bondetti et al.

02/08/2020 - New paper by members of EPRG, "The adoption of pottery on Kodiak Island: Insights from organic residue analysis" by Admiraal et al.

12/05/2020 - New paper by members of EPRG, "Evidence of increasing functional differentiation in pottery use among Late Holocene maritime foragers in northern Japan" by Junno et al.

27/04/2020 - New paper by members of EPRG, "Latitudinal gradient in dairy production with the introduction of farming in Atlantic Europe" by Cubas et al.

26/04/2020 - New paper by members of EPRG, "First lipid residue analysis of Early Neolithic pottery from Swifterbant (the Netherlands, ca. 4300–4000 BC)" by Demirci et al.

22/04/2020 - New paper by members of EPRG, "Organic residue analysis shows sub-regional patterns in the use of pottery by Northern European hunter–gatherers" by Courel et al.

20/12/2019 - New paper by members of EPRG, "Late Glacial hunter-gatherer pottery in the Russian Far East: Indications of diversity in origins and use" by Shoda et al.

16/11/2019 - New paper by members of EPRG, "Leftovers: The presence of manufacture-derived aquatic lipids in Alaskan pottery" by Admiraal et al.

18/09/2019 - New paper by members of EPRG, "Something fishy in the Great Lakes? A reappraisal of early pottery use in north-eastern North America" by Taché et al.

28/08/2019 - New paper by members of EPRG, "Production and function of Neolithic black-painted pottery from Schela Cladovei (Iron Gates, Romania)" by Spataro et al.

21/05/2019 - New book by members of EPRG, "Ceramics in Circumpolar Prehistory: Technology, Lifeways and Cuisine" by Jordan and Gibbs.

11/02/2019 - New paper by members of EPRG, "Fruits, fish and the introduction of pottery in the Eastern European plain: Lipid residue analysis of ceramic vessels from Zamostje 2" by Bondetti et al.

15/02/2019 - New paper by members of EPRG, "Diet, cuisine and consumption practices of the first farmers in the southeastern Baltic" by Robson et al.

17/01/2019 - New paper by members of EPRG, "Early pottery use across the Baltic – A comparative lipid residue study on Ertebølle and Narva ceramics from coastal hunter-gatherer sites in southern Scandinavia, northern Germany and Estonia" by Papakosta et al.

12/12/2018 - New paper by members of EPRG, "Molecular and isotopic evidence for the processing of starchy plants in Early Neolithic pottery from China" by Shoda et al.

03/10/2018 - New paper by members of EPRG, "Ancient proteins from ceramic vessels at Çatalhöyük West reveal the hidden cuisine of early farmers" by Hendy et al.

12/08/2018 - New paper by members of EPRG, "The Corded Ware culture in the Eastern Baltic: New evidence on chronology, diet, beaker, bone and flint tool function" by Piličiauskas et al.

17/07/2018 - New paper by members of EPRG, "The impact of environmental change on the use of early pottery by East Asian hunter-gatherers" by Lucquin et al.

03/07/2018 - New paper by members of EPRG, "Direct evidence from lipid residue analysis for the routine consumption of millet in Early Medieval Italy" by Ganzarolli et al.

04/06/2018 - New paper by members of EPRG, "Investigating the function of prehistoric stone bowls and griddle stones in the Aleutian Islands by lipid residue analysis" by Admiraal et al.

26/12/2017 - New paper by members of EPRG, "The use of Lapita pottery: Results from the first analysis of lipid residues" by Leclerc et al.

13/12/2017 - New paper by members of EPRG, "Reconstruction of prehistoric pottery use from fatty acid carbon isotope signatures using Bayesian inference" by Fernandes et al.

08/12/2017 - New paper by members of EPRG, "Exploring the emergence of an ‘Aquatic’ Neolithic in the Russian Far East: organic residue analysis of early hunter-gatherer pottery from Sakhalin Island" by Gibbs et al.

27/07/2017 - New paper by members of EPRG, "New criteria for the molecular identification of cereal grains associated with archaeological artefacts" by Colonese et al.

11/07/2017 - New book chapter by members of EPRG, "Dietary Practices at the Onset of the Neolithic in the Western Mediterranean Revealed Using a Combined Biomarker and Isotopic Approach" by Spiteri et al.

06/07/2017 - New paper by members of EPRG, "Pottery use by early Holocene hunter-gatherers of the Korean peninsula closely linked with the exploitation of marine resources" by Shoda et al.

02/06/2017 - New paper by members of EPRG, "Achievements of Pottery Lipid Analysis and its Potential to Japanese Archaeology" by Shoda and Craig.

13/04/2017 - New paper by members of EPRG, "Late Mesolithic Narva stage in Estonia: pottery, settlement types and chronology" by Kriiska et al.

13/01/2017 - New paper by members of EPRG, "The identification of poultry processing in archaeological ceramic vessels using in-situ isotope references for organic residue analysis" by Colonese et al.

28/12/2016 - New paper by members of the EPRG, "The adoption of pottery by north-east European hunter-gatherers: Evidence from lipid residue analysis" by Oras et al.

23/12/2016 - New paper by members of the EPRG, "First molecular and isotopic evidence of millet processing in prehistoric pottery vessels" by Heron et al.

15/12/2016 - Innovation and dispersal of pottery in East Asia (and beyond) - 23rd March 2017 conference first circular.

15/11/2016 - New paper by members of the EPRG, "Regional asynchronicity in dairy production and processing in early farming communities of the northern Mediterranean" by Spiteri et al. Keywords: archaeology, Neolithic, lipid residue analyses, archaeozoology, milk

04/11/2016 - New ERC funded project has been added to our project page.

24/10/2016 - New project on the aquatic Neolithic of the Northern European Boreal Forest has just begun.

05/09/2016 - New paper by members of the EPRG, "Molecular and isotopic investigations of pottery
and ‘charred remains’ from Sannai Maruyama and Sannai Maruyama No. 9, Aomori Prefecture, Japan" by Heron et al. Keywords: lipid, molecular analysis, isotopic analysis, Jomon pottery, Sannai Maruyama

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AHRCMarie Curie ActionsLeverhulme Trust

The EPRG is driven by a dynamic research team comprising scientists and archaeologists from around the world.
The EPRG have produced a range of resources linked to our work, including sampling protocols, and a full publication list.
The EPRG have been involved in a range of projects, using biomolecular techniques to investigate early pottery from around the world. Please browse our portfolio to find out more.
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