Pottery is our oldest handicraft. In prehistoric times, most likely water was carried in woven baskets lined with river clay. After the water was poured out of the container the layer of clay dried. The loss of moisture caused the shape to shrink and separate from the sides of the basket. When the clay, now shaped like a pot, was removed, and dried in the sun on hot sand, it retained the basket pattern. Early men and women then discovered that they could harden the molded pottery in hot ashes and make sturdy containers to transport and store foodstuffs. From these would have been extended the pots formed by hand and decorated with crude tools.
From a very early date in history, some say at least 400 B. C., earthenware pottery was produced on a mass scale by a potter's wheel in many parts of the world.