Skip to content

The study of ceramic artefacts from the Eastern Mediterranean

Work package leader: Dr P. Day (University of Sheffield, UK)

Other scientific staff:

· Dr H.E. White (University of Sheffield, UK)

· Dr V. Kilikoglou (National Centre for Scientific Research “Demokritos”, Greece)

· Dr A. Hein (National Centre for Scientific Research “Demokritos”, Greece)

· Dr I. Karatasios (National Centre for Scientific Research “Demokritos”, Greece)

· Dr E. Aloupi (Thetis Authentics Ltd, Greece)

· Prof. Karin Nys (Vrije Universiteit Brussel, Belgium)

· Prof. Ph. Claeys (Vrije Universiteit Brussel, Belgium)

· Dr P. Quinn (University College London, UK)

· Dr M. Dikomitou (University of Cyprus, Cyprus)


Description of work package

This work package will focus on the technologies of archaeological ceramics.  It will produce an integrated understanding of the full range of choices and practices involved in ceramic manufacture and use, and explore the potential for such insight to enhance our understanding of a range of archaeological questions.

One phase of this work is to be based specifically around the development of a detailed approach to the role of material composition and shape in vessels exploited for transport and those to be heated during their use. This will be developed by ER02 based in NCSR Demokritos and applied by the same fellow and by ESR10 to the design of amphorae, cooking vessels and high refractory ceramics such as crucibles used in the production of metals and vitreous materials.

This new understanding will be added to work previously developed by NCSR Demokritos and USFD on other aspects of the ceramic chaîne opératoire, making it possible to trace important diachronic traditions in the production of pottery.  A major application of this work, by ESR09, will be in South Central Crete at the hill of Phaistos, where new evidence has demonstrated the existence of pottery production from the Final Neolithic  through to the Palace built during the first phases of the Middle Bronze Age.

Tracing ‘ways of doing’ at various points of the past will enable another major feature of the project, which is new insight into selected categories of decorated ceramics of the historical period in the Aegean (ESR15 at Thetis), through the full-scale reconstruction and replication of methods of ceramic production making use of previously obtained analytical data and laboratory experiments.

Finally the choices made in ceramic production during the past will illuminate variability in raw materials, thus informing the research of ESR06 at VUB, on the exchange of pottery around the landscape of the Eastern Mediterranean.

ESRs and ERs will receive intensive training in related areas, producing publishable work and presenting their work at relevant international conferences.