name is Charles Cheek. I am an archeologist and potter. I have a PhD in
Anthropology from the University of Arizona, and am an archeologist by
profession. My main areas of professional interest are the Mayan culture of
Mesoamerica and urban historical archeology of the Middle Atlantic area. I had a
long-term interest in pottery as an archeologist. What can pottery tell us about
the past and the people that used and made the pottery? How did they make the
often gorgeous forms and decoration? Then I team-taught a class on archeology
and ceramics with a ceramics instructor at a small university and became
interested in making pottery.
I have been making stoneware as a hobby since the early 1980s. I like making pottery because discovering shapes in the raw clay gives me the same excitement that making discoveries in archeology does, and not just the thrill from finding pyramids and tombs and ancient sculpture. Archeologists work with all the bits and pieces disordered by past human behaviors and by natural forces acting on the artifacts after discard. During analysis we take the results of the excavation and reorder them. We recreate the connections among the artifacts found in the earth and between them and the people who lived in the past. Potters create connections between form and decoration with the help of the wheel, clay, slips, glazes, and the fire. The creating and the recreating are satisfying both intellectually and aesthetically, and I like the feeling that I am creating something from the earth with my own hands.
In my day job, I am the cultural resources director of John Milner Associates. We do archeology, historic preservation, material conservation, restoration of historic architecture, and preservation planning. I live in Falls Church, VA, with my wife and two American Pit Bull Terriers.
You can contact Charles at: firstname.lastname@example.org
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