|WikiProject Archaeology||(Rated Start-class, High-importance)|
This article contradicts entries in major US and UK dictionaries. "Sherd" is simply a variant spelling of the more common "shard" and can also be a shortened form of "potsherd" (which is less commonly spelled "potshard"). Dictionaries record no specialized uses in archeology preferring the spelling "sherd" or making a distinction between pottery and glass fragments. --Espoo (talk) 06:24, 24 February 2012 (UTC)
You might consider that dictionaries could be wrong. As a professional archaeologist, US, the spelling "sherd" is overwhelmingly the commonly accepted spelling for ceramic fragment. No one uses the spelling "shard" in publications, public interpretation, speaking, etc.
I am not familiar with the formatting and style of Wikipedia so I'll post my thoughts here so others can read them and better wiki ors can incorporate them.
In archaeology a sherd, or potsherd is defined as a fragment of broken ceramic vessel (Banning, 2000, p. 307). This tradition predates the publication of the canonical work Ceramics for the Archaeologist by Shepard in 1956 in which sherd and potsherd are consistently used but no definition of sherd or potsherd is given. In 1987 Rice published Pottery Analysis and the glossary entry for sherd appears thus: “Sherd (potsherd, shard) a term archaeologists use to refer to a broken fragment of pottery.” p 481. Within the profession of archaeology as practiced and taught in the United States sherd is the preferred term for fragments of pottery. How accepted the usage of shard is amongst other English speaking archaeologists, I have found hints that it is used but no evidence as to its broader acceptance.
In their etymology sherd and shard are closely connected and dictionaries consider sherd to be a variant of shard. Some dictionaries mention the archaeological use of sherd. (OED, see 4: http://www.oed.com/view/Entry/177521?redirectedFrom=sherd#eid)
also for inclusion:
“Grog prefired clay (or potsherds), crushed or ground to small particle size and added to a clay as a type of temper to modify its properties; also called filler.” Rice p 476 (be sure to link temper to the wiki entry on temper)
I don’t think the inclusion of “commonly a historic or prehistoric” in the first sentence is accurate as an archaeologist would consider a contemporary fragment of pottery to be a sherd which is consistent with the definitions in Rice and Banning.
Banning, E. B. (2000) The Archaeologist’s Laboratory: The Analysis of Archaeological Data. Kluwer Academic/Plenum Publishers
Rice, Prudence M. (1987) Pottery Analysis. University of Chicago Press.
Shepard, Anna O. (1956) Ceramics for the Archaeologist. Carnegie Institution of Washington. CraneInHand (talk) 17:28, 26 February 2014 (UTC) — Preceding unsigned comment added by CraneInHand (talk • contribs) 17:25, 26 February 2014 (UTC)
"Among the pottery were sherds of red Merranean ware, some of them parts of wine amphorae. to- gether with incised pottery and sherds stamped with a duck design..." — Preceding unsigned comment added by 2A02:C7D:411:1600:226:8FF:FEDC:FD74 (talk) 23:55, 26 April 2016 (UTC)