An agent purposely added to the paste in order to strengthen the clay, and improve its workability. Particles can range in size from very fine to several centimeters in size. Materials used in this region include crushed rock (i.e. geniss, quartz, hematite, and limestone), shell, sand, or clay nodules.
Coarse inclusions deliberately added to a paste for purposes of improving the firing characteristics of that paste. Whether the temper seen in broken rimsherds is rock or shell can help date the artifact.
A substance added to something to modify its qualities or properties. In pottery manufacture, temper is a nonplastic material (e.g., ash, limestone, sand, shell, crushed sherd) added to clay to prevent excessive shrinkage of the vessel during drying and firing.