Aegeus Society For Aegean Prehistory


15 November 2010

Pottery production and consumption in Early Iron Age Crete: the case of Thronos Kephala (ancient Sybrita)

Anna Lucia D’Agata & Marie-Claude Boileau Studi Micenei ed Egeo-Anatolici 51 (2009) [2010]: 165-222.

Abstract (from the Introduction)

Recent years have seen a marked increase in interest in the Early Iron Age of Crete, focusing on sites which flourished in the centuries of the so called Dark Ages through to the emergence of the city-states dating from the 8th century BC onwards. Excavations at Knossos, Eleutherna, Thronos Kephala, and Kavousi, and surveys at Vrokastro and elsewhere bear witness to this renewed interest. Still, our understanding of regionalism within Crete in this period remains poor, partly because ceramic studies of Early Iron Age material have mostly concentrated on the stylistic development of fine decorated wares from funerary contexts as an aid to chronological studies. Local developments of, and interactions between, sites and regions can be documented more precisely through the study of pottery technology, production and circulation with the application of analytical techniques.

Here we present the first detailed assessment of Early Iron Age pottery production and consumption from Thronos Kephala (ancient Sybrita). Using mainly ceramic petrography, it sets out to establish the compositional reference fabric groups for the local coarse, semi-fine and cooking pot productions, and to identify non-local fabrics. Results of the integrated petrography and typo-chronological data shed light on issues of clay paste technology, diachronic patterns of local production and consumption, provenance of non-local pottery and, more generally, on the relationship between Thronos Kephala and the other communities of west-central Crete. Greek-Italian excavations at the site of Thronos Kephala, generally identified with Minoan su-ki-ri-ta and the forerunner of the Classical polis of Sybrita, have uncovered a settlement which was continuously occupied from the 12th to the 7th century BC.


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