Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Arts (MA)



First Advisor

Benjamin L. Ford, Ph.D.

Second Advisor

Phillip Neusius, Ph.D.

Third Advisor

Claire Milner, Ph.D.


Ceramics are among the most useful artifact types in historical archaeology. Identifying different earthenware types is often difficult, especially when the sherds lack diagnostic features. The purpose of this study was to determine if the colors of ceramics can be used to identify pearlware, creamware, and whiteware sherds that lack diagnostic features. A colorimeter was used measure the color of the glazes and pastes from 1929 scans of sherds categorized by experts in museum collections. Several statistical tests were performed on the data set, including ANOVA, multiple comparison, and discriminate analysis. Results from ANOVA indicated that creamware, pearlware and whiteware had different mean color values. Multivariate analysis was used to group the observations and indicated that color can be used to identify creamware, pearlware, and whiteware, but only if a color standard can be generated to compare against because colorimetric analysis can roughly duplicate the results of a single expert.