When I was working on a PhD dissertation dealing with the ceramics of ancient Israel/Palestine, I came across an academic article where the author questioned if potters could throw open vessels greater than 50 centimeters in diameter.
Of course, these kinds of arguments are often constructed in the comfort of one's own office.
Shortly after reading this piece, I visited the potters of al-Khalil (Hebron) and watched them throw vessels approaching twice that size.
Takeaway? Book work is good, but ethnographic experience should not be overlooked!