Year of Ceramics


The Ban Chiang Project has designated the academic year 2010-2011 as the Year of Ceramics (YOC), with activities to advance the scholarly study of the famous ceramics of Ban Chiang. The focus of our efforts this year is on the ceramics that have been on loan to the University of Pennsylvania from the Thai government since the 1970s. When studied with modern techniques, these scientifically excavated items can give us vast amounts of information about the ancient society, economy, trade, and technology in this region. The Year of Ceramics includes coursework, a new staff appointment, an international workshop, a new teaching lab, and international internships, all supported by the Henry Luce Foundation and the University of Pennsylvania.

Read the Luce Report for more Year of Ceramics information.

Note: please click on main activity for more information.

Main Activity Personnel Dates Funded by
Coursework and Staff Appointment: Two semester course, Intro. to Archaeological Ceramics I and II Dr. Marie-Claude Boileau, Dr. Joyce White, and Professor Tom Tartaron. 2010-11 Academic Year
International Ceramics Workshop in Washington, D.C. and Philadelphia, PA Thirty International Visitors November 4-5 at the Smithsonian’s Freer & Sackler Galleries and November 7-8 at the Penn Museum
  • University of Pennsylvania Research Foundation
  • Luce Grant to the Smithsonian’s Freer & Sackler Galleries
  • FOBC
  • U.S. State Department – embassies in Laos, Cambodia, and Thailand
Ceramics Lab at the Penn Museum Lab portion – spring half of 2 semester course, Intro. to Archaeological Ceramics I and II Opens January 2011
  • Anonymous Donor
  • FOBC
Two visiting Asian Archaeologists Bounheuang Bouasisengpaseuth (Laos) and Sureeratana Bubpha (Thailand) 2010-11 Academic Year
  • Original Luce Grant
  • Vice Provost’s Office, Univ. of Penn
  • FOBC

Coursework and Staff Appointment

The University of Pennsylvania has funded the one-year appointment of a visiting post-doctoral scholar, Marie-Claude Boileau, (Canada). Together with Dr. Joyce White (Penn Museum) and Professor Tom Tartaron (standing Penn faculty, Dept. of Classical Studies), Dr. Boileau is co-teaching Introduction to Archaeological Ceramics a two-semester course that focuses on Ban Chiang ceramics. Dr. Boileau is also designing, conducting, and overseeing multi-disciplinary study of the Ban Chiang ceramics collection while she is at Penn.
Please see slideshow below and click on image for caption.

International Ceramic Workshop in Washington, D.C. and Philadelphia, PA

In early November 2010, Penn lent support to an international four-day conference on Southeast Asian Ceramics. More than thirty invited specialists in Southeast Asian ceramics participated in sessions at the Smithsonian and Penn Museum. The workshop offered a first-time opportunity for these scholars to gather in one place to focus on the current state of the field and to plan future directions. The workshop was held in collaboration with the Smithsonian’s Freer & Sackler Galleries. Read press release for more details…

Please see slideshow below and click on image for caption.

Ceramics Lab at the Penn Museum

By constructing an archaeological ceramics laboratory in the Museum’s newly renovated West Wing, the Penn Museum is fulfilling its pledge to the Luce Foundation to develop facilities to support the Year of Ceramics. The lab opened in January 2011. Students taking Introduction to Archaeological Ceramics are able to do petrographic and other analyses to learn how and where pottery was made, how widely it was traded, and how production was organized. This ceramics lab will be a permanent part of the Penn Museum and will be available for future research and coursework. Read the blog entry on the Penn Museum’s website: There’s a New Lab in Town by Ardeth Abrams


Photo caption: Before, during, and after photos of our “flipped lab”.

Two Visiting Asian Archaeologists

The Henry Luce Foundation, as part of its commitment to international collaboration in Asian archaeology and the training of new scholars, is supporting two new interns in the Ban Chiang Project. From September 2010-May 2011, Bounheuang Bouasisengpaseuth, a Deputy Director of the Lao National Museum in Vientiane, Laos, and Sureeratana Bubpha of Thammasat University, Bangkok, are studying Ban Chiang ceramics under the supervision of Dr. White, Dr. Boileau, and Professor Tartaron. They are focusing specifically on the more than 500 reconstructible vessels excavated by the University of Pennsylvania at Ban Chiang.

Please see slideshow below and click on image for caption.

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