Pottery Brings Change

Time Frame: Approximately 2,500 Years Ago

Approximately 2,500 years ago ancient Iowans used pottery for cooking and storing food. They also expressed themselves artistically when they designed pottery.
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“First People of the Prairies,” The Iowa Heritage: Program # 1, Iowa Public Television, 1979.

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The development of various forms of pottery improved the way of life for these people. Food could be stored in the pots as protection from small animals and insects; water could be hauled from rivers and lakes and used more efficiently in their camps. The making of pottery, in addition to being functional, was also a means of artistic expression among many Indian cultures. Early pottery was very plain in design; however later cultures scratched designs into the surface of the pot. Sometimes handles were attached or animal images were molded into the soft clay. Quite often only broken bits of pottery are found by archeologists; these remains must be pieced together to learn what styles of pottery were used by the ancient people. Identifying the shapes and decorations on a pot can be very important in establishing a date for a particular archeological site. In Iowa the first known uses of pottery date back over 2,500 years.


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