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Major types of potterywares include earthenware, stoneware and porcelain.

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Pottery is the first synthetic material ever created by humans.

The term refers to objects made of clay that have been fashioned into a desire shape, dried, and either fired or baked to fix their form.

Air trapped within the clay body needs to be removed.

This is called de-airing and can be accomplished either by a machine called a vacuum pug or manually by wedging.

The technical definition of pottery used by the American Society for Testing and Materials (ASTM) is "all fired ceramic wares that contain clay when formed, except technical, structural, and refractory products." Pottery is one of the oldest human inventions, originating before the Neolithic period, with ceramic objects like the Gravettian culture Venus of Dolní Věstonice figurine discovered in the Czech Republic date back to 29,000–25,000 BC, Sub-Saharan Africa and South America.

Pottery is made by forming a ceramic (often clay) body into objects of a required shape and heating them to high temperatures in a kiln which removes all the water from the clay, which induces reactions that lead to permanent changes including increasing their strength and hardening and setting their shape.

Non-agricultural Jomon peoples of Japan were producing clay pots used for food preparation that were elaborately decorated by about 13,000 years ago.

Although there is not necessarily a causal relationship between a sedentary way of life and pottery-making, the introduction of pottery generally coincides with the adoption of an agricultural lifestyle, when durable and strong vessels and containers are needed. However, during the Early Neolithic era, around 8,000 BCE, special ovens used to parch cereal grains and to bake bread were being built in the Near East, which allowed people to control fire and produce high temperatures in enclosed facilities.

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