Stager explained that broken sherds can provide enough material evidence to suggest the time period when the pottery was in fashion: particularly the handles and lips of pottery pieces if those are available, but also the designs used to decorate pots which can nail down both culture and time.
To explain this process he brought up the design of the Coca Cola bottle in his own lifetime, during which he drank from glass bottles with the brand appearing on the side of the bottle in raised glass, the glass bottle with a painted or printed label on top of the glass surface, and finally the plastic bottle.
This includes makers of Coke bottles covering a very wide time period, including the earlier “straight-sides” and the later “hobbleskirt” classic shaped bottle.
These diagrams should help clarify age differences based on both form and function.
With each chart the reader will find accompanying pictures to further aid in bottle identification and age.
A substantial amount of bottle type specific information must be reviewed by a user to increase the probability of dating accuracy.
Additional reference materials outside of this website must often be consulted to narrow down the date of any item as far as is possible and to really get a "feel" for the history of the bottle in question.