The neopalatial pottery from the ceramic workshop at Zominthos and its implications for Minoan relative chronology [Elektronische Ressource] / Sebastian Traunmüller

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Sebastian TraunmüllerTHE NEOPALATIAL POTTERYFROM THE CERAMICWORKSHOP AT ZOMINTHOSAnd Its Implications for MinoanRelative Chronology parentibus Table of Contents Foreword 1 Chapter I: Introduction 4 I.1 Crete – A Mediterranean Landscape 5 I.2 The Minoan “Villa” at Zominthos 12 I.2.1 The Geographic Location and Minoan Remains at Zominthos 12 I.2.2 Scientific Research at Zominthos 14 I.2.3 Terminology and the Function of the Minoan “Villas” 16 Chapter II: Neopalatial Pottery Workshops on Crete 20 II.1 Definition 21 II.2 Problems of Identification 24 II.3 The Pottery Workshop at Zominthos 36 II.4 Catalogue of Neopalatial Pottery Workshops on Crete 39 II.5 Prehistoric and Modern Traditional Pottery Manufacture on Crete 48 II.6 The Potters 56 II.6.1 Iconography 59 II.6.2 Written Sources 61 II.6.3 Social Status 62 Chapter III: The Pottery from Zominthos 67 III.1 The Shapes 70 III.2 The Decoration 109 III.3 Fabrics and Wares 140 III.4 Terminology and Drawing Conventions 151 III.5 Catalogue 155 Chapter IV: Chronology 231 IV.1 The Relative Chronology of Late Minoan Crete 232 IV.2 The Chronological Significance of Pottery and How to date Pottery Assemblages 239 IV.

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Sebastian Traunmüller
THE NEOPALATIAL POTTERY
FROM THE CERAMIC
WORKSHOP AT ZOMINTHOS
And Its Implications for Minoan
Relative Chronology











parentibus


















Table of Contents


Foreword 1
Chapter I: Introduction 4
I.1 Crete – A Mediterranean Landscape 5
I.2 The Minoan “Villa” at Zominthos 12
I.2.1 The Geographic Location and Minoan Remains at
Zominthos 12
I.2.2 Scientific Research at Zominthos 14
I.2.3 Terminology and the Function of the Minoan “Villas” 16
Chapter II: Neopalatial Pottery Workshops on Crete 20
II.1 Definition 21
II.2 Problems of Identification 24
II.3 The Pottery Workshop at Zominthos 36
II.4 Catalogue of Neopalatial Pottery Workshops on Crete 39 II.5 Prehistoric and Modern Traditional Pottery Manufacture on Crete 48
II.6 The Potters 56
II.6.1 Iconography 59
II.6.2 Written Sources 61
II.6.3 Social Status 62
Chapter III: The Pottery from Zominthos 67
III.1 The Shapes 70
III.2 The Decoration 109
III.3 Fabrics and Wares 140
III.4 Terminology and Drawing Conventions 151
III.5 Catalogue 155
Chapter IV: Chronology 231
IV.1 The Relative Chronology of Late Minoan Crete 232
IV.2 The Chronological Significance of Pottery and How to date Pottery
Assemblages 239
IV.3 Putting Zominthos into Context 247
IV.3.1 Why is Zominthos important? 248
IV.3.2 The Final Destruction of the “Central Building” at Zominthos 250
IV.3.3 Zominthos and Akrotiri on Thera – A Contemporary Earthquake
Destruction? Evidence from the Aegean 261
IV.4 Aspects of Absolute Chronology 264
Chapter V: Conclusions 269
Abbreviations 277
Bibliography 281
Tables
Plates
Figures Foreword





The Neopalatial Pottery from the
Ceramic Workshop at Zominthos
and its implications for Minoan Relative Chronology


Foreword

The limited amount of securely datable archaeological deposits on Minoan Crete poses one of
the crucial problems of Neopalatial relative chronology. The new finds at Zominthos
however, seem to resemble the exception to that rule. The ceramic assemblage found in the
area of the pottery workshop derives from a sealed deposit and is thus of paramount
chronological significance. All, or at least most of the vases probably belong to the final series
of pottery production at Zominthos which facilitates the exact dating of the destruction of the
“Central Building” and may offer a chronologically fixed point of time for the use of LM I
style pottery.

1
Foreword

The study and analysis of the assemblage, especially its shapes and modes of decoration,
raised questions concerning the relative chronology of Neopalatial Crete as a whole, and the
interconnection, or respectively distinction, between the stylistic phases of MM III to LM IB
in particular. The material from Zominthos may hopefully contribute to the continuing
discussion and refinement of chronological schemes as well as the understanding of regional
characteristics and island-wide interrelations in Late Minoan Crete.
The main focus of this PhD thesis, submitted to the Institut für Klassische Archäologie of the
Ruprecht-Karls Universität at Heidelberg in 2008, lies on the analytical examination of the
characteristics of ceramic vessels and how to excerpt chronological information from it. Thus,
the pottery from Zominthos forms the core and basis of this study and of the further
reflections uttered in the following chapters. I have tried to limit the introductory remarks and
other excursions to a proportion that does not cause the topic and aim of this examination as a
whole to become indistinct. All flaws and mistakes are of course entirely my own.
The recording and editing of the material took place as an integral part of the large-scale
project “Zominthos 2004 – 2008. Reconstructing a Minoan Landscape” under the auspices of
the Archaeological Society of Athens in collaboration with the Institute of Archaeology of the
University of Heidelberg. It is directed by Prof. Yannis Sakellarakis (Athens) and Prof.
Diamantis Panagiotopoulos (Heidelberg) to whom I am deeply indebted for entrusting me
with the publication of this material. I cordially thank them for their continuous guidance and
support. I further thank Efi Sapouna-Sakellaraki and Maria Bredaki for enabling me to work
at the Apotheke of the Museum at Archanes, and the local guards for their sympathy and
patience. I would also like to thank T. Brogan and E. Hallager for inviting me to participate in
the LM IB workshop „LM IB Pottery. Examining new evidence for relative chronology and
regional differences.” held at the Danish Institute at Athens in 2007. The discussion with the
participants of the workshop, especially with K. Barnard, P.P. Betancourt, T. Brogan, E.
Hallager, C. MacDonald, A. Kanta, C. Knappett, W.-D. Niemeier, L. Platon, A. van de
Moortel, and P. Warren, was a great stimulus for the present study. K. Barnard and T. Brogan
were so kind as to invite me to see the LM I pottery from Mochlos at the INSTAP Study
Center for which I am very thankful as well. Finally, I would like to thank all the members of
the Zominthos excavation teams from 2004 – 2007 and even more importantly, the kind
people of Anogheia for their hospitality and friendship during the excavation seasons and
beyond.

2
Foreword

This dissertation was made possible by the generous funding of the Gerda Henkel-Stiftung at
Düsseldorf, Germany.

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Chapter I: Introduction





Chapter I: Introduction

“The island of Crete is one of the most famous in the world, and undoubtedly the most famous
in the East; not only because of its extent but also because of the mildness of its climate, the
fertility of its soil and the other benefits with which Nature has endowed it. It has always been
1famous and glorious.”
Zuanne Mocenigo, 1589

thThe Venetian nobleman’s description of the island, as he knew it in the 16 century AD,
rightfully focuses on the environmental magnificence of its nature. And indeed, Crete’s
spectacular landscapes rival the island’s rich cultural and archaeological heritage. A rivalry
that does not seek to compete against, but complement each other. Even more so, the cultural
genesis and development of the island have always been, at least partly, determined by its
natural setting – a remarkable Mediterranean landscape.
The following introductory chapter thus seeks to present some general information on the
wider setting of the context in which the material under consideration, the pottery from the
ceramic workshop at Zominthos, was unearthed. This includes a short description of the
island’s geography in general, and the more detailed introduction to the extraordinary

1
Spanakis 1969, 9.

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Chapter I: Introduction

geographic location of the site itself. Further a discussion of the Minoan Villa phenomenon in
the Neopalatial period and a description of the architectural remains at Zominthos are
presented. An overview of the previous scientific research carried out in this area, and some
thoughts on the relationship between the Cretan mountains and human interaction are also
included in the introduction. I am convinced that all these aspects need to be considered in
order to grasp and fully understand the significance of the material under study and the site as
a whole.

I.1 Crete – a Mediterranean landscape

„NATUR! Wir sind von ihr umgeben und umschlungen – unvermögend, aus ihr
herauszutreten, und unvermögend, tiefer in sie hineinzukommen. Ungebeten und ungewarnt
nimmt sie uns in den Kreislauf ihres Tanzes auf und treibt sich mit uns fort, bis wir ermüdet
sind und ihrem Arme entfallen.“
J.W. Goethe, 1782

This is no attempt to comprehensively describe the physical appearance of the island of Crete,
but merely to provide some general geographic information of the island and to introduce the
reader to the dominant feature of the Cretan landscape: the mountains with all their socio-
2cultural and economic aspects, both ancient and modern.
2Crete, covering an area of roughly 8400km , is the largest Greek island in the Aegean. The
island lies in the center of the Hellenic, or south-Aegean, arc, a tectonic zone connecting the
3mountains of the Greek mainland with the southern Anatolian Taurus (Fig. 1). This arc
stretches from the south-eastern tip of the Peloponnese via Kythera to Crete and from there,
past the islands of the Dodecanese, to the coast of Asia Minor. It literally forms a bridge
between the shores of the Aegean Sea. Pendlebury described the central location of Crete as
follows: “The position of Crete, almost equidistant from Europe, Asia and Africa, marked it

2 For interesting thoughts on “landscape” and “landscape archaeology” see also Fitzjohn 2007, especially 143-
155.
3 Gifford 1992, 17-25; “Crete rides, as if on the back of a bull, at the point where Africa burrows under Europe.”
Rackham, Moody 1996, 13; Zöller 2007, 3.

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