Use Alteration Traces in the Megalithic Burial Potteries of Kerala

Independent Scholar, India

The term ‘use-alteration’ refers to all forms of marks or traces that appear on a ceramic vessel’s surfaces from its utilisation. These traces are significant markers that aid in understanding the actual function of a vessel. Interestingly, potential use-alteration traces have been observed in a majority of pottery assemblages unearthed from various megalithic burials in Central Kerala. This paper discusses the results of use-alteration analyses conducted on pottery assemblages unearthed from three of these megalithic burial sites; Ambalamedu (Wayanadu district), Cheramanagadu (Trissur district), and Anakkara (Palakkad district). The results confirm that pottery was not interred with the dead as mere grave goods, but had served particular functions in the domestic context before its placement in the burial.