Anthill as a Resource for Ceramics

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JUNE, 2009
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The unavailability of ceramic raw materials and equipment for the firing of ceramic wares coupled with the lack of technical knowhow for the construction of kilns in Junior and Senior high schools have prompted this enquiry into, “Anthill as a resource for Ceramics.”The study has been undertaken to point out the usefulness of anthills in the teaching of ceramics in the Junior High and Senior High Schools. It is to assist the teachers and students to turn to the anthills in their own backyard to source for solutions to the problem of raw material and firing equipment. A comparative study of anthill materials and soils, have been made to find out the extent to which ants have modified the soils around them. Various tests were conducted to find out how useful anthill materials are so far as ceramic production is concerned. Exploratory study of the anthill structure was also conducted to find out to what extent it could serve as firing chambers and fire ports, flue holes, chimneys and other parts of the kiln. The results of the tests conducted indicated that many clay fabrication methods can be used to shape the soil from anthill. Different forms and wares were fabricated with the clay materials from the anthill. It also unveiled anthill as an insulative structure that retains heat in the semblance of an insulation brick kiln. Three types of anthills were modified to form three kinds of kilns and they were all fired successfully. It was also seen as a stable structure that can withstand a very high temperature without crumbling. Again it was revealed that the fuel consumption rate was comparatively low as only seventeen bundles of firewood were used for a batch whilst about thirty were used for a brick kiln of a similar volume. It was however recommended that further scientific investigations be carried out to find out the physical and chemical properties of the anthill. The method of construction of the anthill and the thermal regulation strategies used by the ants could also be studied and possibly adopted in the field of architecture.
A dissertation submitted to the School of Graduate Studies, Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology in partial fulfillment of the requirements for the degree of Doctor of Philosophy (Art Education), Faculty of Fine Art, College of Art and Social Sciences.