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Cretan Bronze Age Pithoi

Cretan Bronze Age Pithoi: Traditions and Trends in the Production and Consumption of Storage Containers in Bronze Age Crete

Kostandinos S. Christakis
Volume: 18
Copyright Date: 2005
Published by: INSTAP Academic Press
Pages: 214
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  • Book Info
    Cretan Bronze Age Pithoi
    Book Description:

    The pithos is one of the most distinctive utilitarian forms of the Cretan Bronze Age ceramic repertoire. Because of its use as a storage container, a pithos is the foremost parameter for the evaluation of the economic organisation of palatial and domestic sectors of Cretan Bronze Age society. The pithoi as pottery and their significance for the understanding of the Cretan Bronze Age economy has been the focus of a research project carried out from 1989 to 1999. This book is not a pithos handbook in the narrow sense-although the study offers a typological division of the data with comments on chronology and spatial distribution-it integrates stylistic considerations with broad fabric and technological observations in order to understand the production and consumption of pithoi.

    eISBN: 978-1-62303-078-0
    Subjects: Archaeology

Table of Contents

  1. Front Matter
    (pp. i-vi)
  2. Table of Contents
    (pp. vii-viii)
  3. List of Table and Figures
    (pp. ix-x)
  4. List of Plates
    (pp. xi-xii)
  5. Acknowledgments
    (pp. xiii-xiv)
  6. Abbreviations
    (pp. xv-xvi)
  7. Introduction
    (pp. 1-4)

    Scholars concerned with Cretan Bronze Age ceramics have paid great attention to fine decorated ware. Its variation in morphology and style provides a sensitive tool for establishing chronological sequences and patterns of provenance. Fine ware thus became the main focus of interest while coarse ware, with a few exceptions, was almost entirely neglected. In the last few years, innovative approaches to pottery, benefiting from scientific analytical methods, have increased our awareness of the amount of information we can obtain from studies of coarse ware. Utilitarian pottery is now being used for understanding complex regional and inter-regional patterns of ceramic production...

  8. 1 A Formal Typology for Pithoi
    (pp. 5-22)

    Several different approaches to constructing a classification exist (Adams and Adams 1991). A choice depends partly on the existing conventions within the area of study and partly on the aims of that study. In either case, a successful classification should take into consideration two fundamental principles. First, entities belonging to the same type should share similar features, and second, types should be defined with precision to allow others to duplicate the classification. The isolation of pithos types proposed here is based on their shape. Shape, besides being a practical and easily applied tool of classification, can also be made to...

  9. 2 Decorative Patterns and Style
    (pp. 23-44)

    Decorative patterns displayed on pithoi are quite varied. The potters’ choices were inspired by drawing on a wide range of interrelated thematic, aesthetic, and technical sources, deeply rooted in the regional potting traditions. Standardization exists alongside idiosyncratic variation. Decoration, therefore, is an active medium of communication. This chapter presents the most frequent patterns and decorative trends employed: the elements are divided into appliqué, incised, impressed, and painted.

    It has been suggested that rope and raised band decorations were inspired by actual ropes binding the pithoi either to assist transportation or to prevent it from warping while drying (PM I, 232;...

  10. 3 The Use of Pithoi
    (pp. 45-70)

    A great deal of archaeological literature is devoted to the use of vessels (Lesure 1998). The definition of a vessel’s use can broaden our understanding of the social and economic dimensions of pottery, the activities occurring at sites, and the identification of subsistence practices and consumption patterns. Most of these studies are based on the assumption that vessels are tools used basically as containers. The assessment of such use is determined by elements of its basic shape and by its physical properties (Braun 1983; Steponaitis 1984; Hally 1986). Stylistic aspects were envisioned as completely extraneous parameters. As Braun argues, “Decorative...

  11. 4 Traditions and Trends in the Production and Consumption of Pithoi
    (pp. 71-86)

    Pithoi used in the major regional settings of Bronze Age Crete show marked differences in basic morphological and decorative attributes as well as in fabric and manufacture. Variability is also observed in the functional properties and the technological profile of pithoi consumed in the different sectors of Cretan Bronze Age state society. This chapter synthesizes the main aspects of variation and patterns of diachronic changes in order to highlight regional potting traditions and behaviors of consumption.

    It is argued here that pithoi with similar morphological, technological, and functional attributes that exist within the same spatial and temporal framework will reflect...

  12. Bibliography
    (pp. 87-102)
  13. Index
    (pp. 103-112)
  14. Table
    (pp. None)
  15. Figures
    (pp. None)
  16. Plates
    (pp. None)