A pot is not a rock: A reply to Neff, Glascock, Bishop, and Blackman

James H. Burton, Arleyn W. Simon

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

29 Scopus citations


There are some fundamental errors in the arguments of our critics: equating acid extraction with bulk techniques; confusing extractability, the signal of interpretive interest, with analytical error; and, most importantly, presuming that the influences of behavioral choices of prehistoric potters are unwanted "noise" in the data. In confirmation of our original statements, Neff et al., demonstrate that neutron activation analysis (NAA) and acid extraction are independent methods, that the data are not commensurate, and that acid extraction is sensitive to technological choices of prehistoric potters. We agree emphatically. Because ceramic vessels are not idealized geologic materials mined from quarries, but complex technological products, richly embedded with behavioral attributes, we see this behavioral sensitivity of acid extraction as its virtue, not its vice. Acid extraction is a viable compositional tool currently producing significant archaeological results.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)405-413
Number of pages9
JournalAmerican Antiquity
Issue number2
StatePublished - Apr 1996

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • History
  • Arts and Humanities (miscellaneous)
  • Archaeology
  • Museology


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