Firebox and zibble in sacks 4.jpg

So you have a ceramic kiln. You have thrown all your pottery and loaded it into the kiln. How do you fire this furnace up? What do you use for fuel? 

We found one answer to this question while visiting a potter's home near the site of Samaria in Palestine. This fellow fired his kiln using free fuel that was readily available: sheep/goat dung! The white bags stacked behind my friend Nael are full of dried dung pellets. Arabs call it zibble (a good word to throw around at a dinner party). These have been stacked in a room adjacent to the kiln. You can see the firebox to the right of the image. A shovel rests against the wall at the ready when the time comes.

Animal product that have been used as fuel for as long as anybody can remember. It is a "green" alternative, right?

Note: archaeological research has discovered other "natural fuels" used in kilns. A lime-kiln from late antiquity found in Italy was fired with olive pits and almond shells, in addition to firewood. See link here.