Pottery is the most abundant type of archaeological find and is usually recovered in fragments (sherds), especially if a site has been used repeatedly over the course of time. Even small fragments, however, can help interpret and reconstruct the past. Archaeologists examine pottery in several ways and on different scales, all of which convey different kinds of information about the people who produced and consumed them.

On the macroscopic scale, characteristics such as clay color and texture, overlying slip or other surface treatment (e.g. burnishing, glazing), and condition might illuminate how a vessel was formed, finished and baked; how it was intended to be used and how it was actually used (use-wear, fire clouding); its economic and social value; and whether it was locally made or imported. The overall form and detailed formal characteristics of a vessel, such as rim, base and handle shape, wall thickness, rim and base diameter, height, and overall volume, reveal additional information about how a vessel was meant to be used at the time of production; for instance whether it was meant for storage, cooking, drinking, pouring, or eating. Decoration may encode implicit, deep-seated beliefs in that society or be more explicitly communicative within the social and ideological world of those who used a vessel.

On the microscopic level, clay composition (silicates, carbonates, oxides and clays), the nature of minerals and rocks added intentionally as temper, and the permeability and thermal conductivity of the resulting ceramic fabric can elucidate where the clay came from and the technological choices made by potters based on tradition or the intended function of the vessels. On the molecular level, residue analysis can determine which food substances were contained within them. On the elemental level, chemical analysis of the clay can greatly refine our understanding of composition, identify vessels as local, regional or distantly traded goods, and further help us understand the technological, economic, and social milieu of the people who produced and consumed them. Finally, the study and comparison of pottery across many different sites is key to dating archaeological entities such as tombs, buildings and settlements. Studying pottery distributions tells us about chronological range of habitation and the functional and social uses of space on multiple, nested levels.

The PG64 pottery can be grouped in two major technological categories: handmade (non-European) and wheel-thrown (Colonial and later). In terms of the latter, the ceramic material is arranged in two further categories: earthenware, fired at temperatures of 900-1200° C, and stoneware, fired at 1200-1350° C. The term ‘ware‘ is used both for handmade and wheel-thrown types of pottery. This refers to a combination of potentially many different characteristics, such as surface treatment and decoration, clay fabric, function and origin.