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Kontinuität und Wandel - Die Keramik der Nachpalastzeit aus der Unterstadt von Tiryns

"What do sherds tell us about life in Mycenaean Greece? In my PhD dissertation I analyse the entire corpus of Late Bronze Age pottery found during the Tiryns (Argolid, Greece) excavations of 1999/2000 under the direction of J. Maran in cooperation with A. Papadimitriou in the Northeastern Lower Town area of the Mycenaean citadel. Within this work, the presentation of the finds is preceded by methodological considerations, including defining what is meant by the terms ‘continuity’ and ‘change,, justifying the relevance of taking analogical and ethnoarchaeological approaches in exploring this subject as well as outlining the chronological method applied.The second chapter subjects the existing chronological systems for the Post-Palatial Period (e.g. those of E.B. French, E.S. Sherratt, J.B. Rutter, P.A. Mountjoy, C. Podzuweit) to a critical analysis. This results in the creation of my own consistent system for the phases Late Helladic III B2 until LH III C Late.Chapter Three starts with the classification of the pottery wares into broad groups (i.e. painted fineware, unpainted fineware, cooking ware, coarse ware, handmade burnished ware, imported wares) and an analysis of the site formation processes. The pottery of all five Post-Palatial settlement phases is covered, spanning the whole Post-Palatial Period from its beginning around 1200 B.C. until its end around 1050 B.C. (Late Helladic III C Early, Middle and Late). 2435 objects are illustrated in this context.Taking this material culture evidence as a starting point, the fourth and fifth chapters document comparative analysis of pottery production. They also consider the social meaning of pottery as a foreign object and within the context of feasting and household consumption in the Palatial and the Post-Palatial Period. The results from the first two settlement phases (Late Helladic III C Early) are of special importance in this regard. At the beginning of the Post-Palatial Period, the inhabitants in the Northeastern Lower Town obviously took antique dishes out of the old chamber tombs to bestow their feasting dishes with a time-honoured appearance. In the second settlement phase, a destruction by fire led to the preservation of the complete ceramic inventory of an elite household. The types of vessels found and their spatial distribution, demonstrate that this fire broke out during feasting activity. Therefore, this context provides an exceptional insight into the social spaces in which the Post-Palatial elite performed. The integration of exotic and hybrid ceramic objects among the feasting dishes reveals information about the structures of elite self-representation. Conversely, the spatial distribution of the so-called handmade burnished ware demonstrates that the use of this pottery was probably restricted to Italian immigrants. The material culture of these immigrants was obviously kept away from both public and private representative contexts of the Mycenaean Palatial and Post-Palatial Period. A holistic analysis of Mycenaean pottery, thus, permits completely new insights to be made into the cultural history of Mycenaean Greece."

Author(s):  Stockhammer, Philipp Wolfgang
Format:  Article
Publisher:  Universitätsbibliothek Heidelberg
Publication City:  Heidelberg
Date:  2008