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The type of temper (or mix of tempers) used helps to distinguish the ceramics produced by different cultures during particular time periods.

Grog, sand, and sandstone were all used by Ancestral Pueblo people and other Southwestern cultures.

Cords, textiles, baskets, and corncobs have been rolled over wet clay, both as a decoration and to improve heat dispersion in cooking pots.

Carved wood or ceramic stamping paddles are used throughout the Southeastern Woodlands to create repeating designs.

Clay can also be added to the main ceramic structure to build up designs.

Before firing, ceramics can be burnished or polished to a fine sheen with a smooth instrument, usually a stone.Ceramics are used for utilitarian cooking vessels, serving and storage vessels, pipes, funerary urns, censers, musical instruments, ceremonial items, masks, toys, sculptures, and a myriad of other art forms.Due to their resilience, ceramics have been key to learning more about Precolumbian indigenous cultures. Clay must be mined and purified in an often laborious process, and certain tribes have ceremonial protocols to gathering clay.Please feel free to suggest books that might be critical omissions.Pottery is fired ceramics with clay as a component.In the Southeastern United States, the earliest ceramics were tempered with fiber such as Spanish moss and palmetto leaves.