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Transport amphorae

(1,875 words)

Author(s): Docter, Roald Fritjof (Amsterdam)
[German version] I. Definition and ancient terminology Transport amphorae (TA) are two-handled ceramic vessels manufactured for the transportation and storage of foodstuffs. The Latin term amphora derives from the Greek ἀμφορεύς/ amphoreús, from the older ἀμφιφορεύς/ amphiphoreús (Hom. Il. 23,92; 23,170); the term is also used for the vessels nowadays called stamnos and pelike (cf. Pottery A.; Amphora [1]; with ill.). Unpainted TA were more frequently referred to as κέραμος/ kéramos or κεράμιον/ kerámion (Hom. Il. 9,46; Hdt. 3,6) and ἀγγεῖον/ angeîon (Ps.-Aristot. Mir. 136).…

Samaria ware

(111 words)

Author(s): Docter, Roald Fritjof (Amsterdam)
[German version] Modern technical term for typical Iron Age luxury crockery of the Phoenician Levant. The name is taken from the unusual finding place of Samaria. SW keeled bowls and dishes, which had very thin walls, were produced in mould dishes and engraved with lines. Red slip painting (Red slip ware) was usually combined with a blanked area. Finds of SW on Cyprus, in Carthage and in southern Spain mark the earliest horizon of Phoenician western expansion. There are local adaptations of SW in Carthage. Phoenicians Docter, Roald Fritjof (Amsterdam) Bibliography P. Bikai, The Pott…


(291 words)

Author(s): Docter, Roald Fritjof (Amsterdam)
[German version] Modern technical term for a special surface treatment in the production of  pottery, that consists of a flux of lead and silicon-oxide. Glaze is found only in a few ancient ceramic forms; earliest examples occur in Mesopotamia of the 3rd millennium BC. Glaze is mostly used erroneously as a technical term for ancient surface treatments that are based on a strongly levigated shiny clay [1]; glaze is furthermore to be separated from vessels and objects of silicic ceramics made of quartz sand with a surface similar to glaze and containing copper ( Faience). Between 50 BC an…


(192 words)

Author(s): Docter, Roald Fritjof (Amsterdam)
[German version] Modern technical term for a type of pottery of the Villanovan, Etruscan and Lazian cultures ( Etrusci II. archaeology), designating vessels made of badly burned, uncleaned clay. Impasto is largely shaped by hand and not with a  potter's wheel. Typical vessels of the Villanovan period are biconical urns for ashes, amphorae and bowls. In the orientalizing period new forms appeared in Etruria, borrowed from the Greek and Phoenician repertoire and often associated with drinking wine. …

Red slip ware

(171 words)

Author(s): Docter, Roald Fritjof (Amsterdam)
[German version] Modern technical term for ceramic genres with a red finish, particularly from the Phoenician and Cypriot Iron Age. RSW is characterized chiefly by the use of illite clays (illite is a mineral constituent) and slips, which even at lower firing temperatures (800-1000 °C) lead to sintering. Iron oxides are the colouring components. The surface is often given a lustrous decoration by means of an additional polish. In Spain beginning in the 7th cent. BC, Iberian potters adopted this te…

Stirrup jar

(124 words)

Author(s): Docter, Roald Fritjof (Amsterdam)
[German version] Modern term for a typical vessel, usually painted, of the late Minoan and Mycenaean repertory of pottery. It was developed on Crete in the Middle Minoan III period (after 1700 BC) from an amphora-like vessel by adding three handles, a spout and a false central  boss in place of the upper spout. In the Late Helladic IIA period (after 1500 BC), this form was adopted for pottery of the Mycenaean palaces, and in the Late Helladic IIIA1 period (after 1400 BC) it was redesigned with two…

Mushroom-lipped jug

(114 words)

Author(s): Docter, Roald Fritjof (Amsterdam)
[German version] Modern technical term for a one-handled, globular oil jug with a slim neck and a wide mushroom-shaped mouth. The shape developed in the 9th cent. BC on the Phoenician Levantine coast and spread to all the Phoenician areas in the Mediterranean between the 8th cent. and the 5th. Bichrome ware; Black-on-red ware; Red-slip ware Docter, Roald Fritjof (Amsterdam) Bibliography Ch. Briese, Früheisenzeitliche bemalte phönizische Kannen von Fundplätzen der Levanteküste, in: Hamburger Beiträge zur Archäologie 12, 1985, 7-118  F. Chelbi, Oenochoes ‘à bobèche’ de Cart…


(261 words)

Author(s): Docter, Roald Fritjof (Amsterdam)
[German version] The largest clay vessel used by the Romans for storage and transport of provisions (like the Greek Pithos; cf.  Pottery, shapes of;  Pottery, production of II B). Dolia were primarily used for preserving provisions like wine, olive oil and grain. As part of the wine-production process wine underwent fermentation in the dolium in the cella vinaria. The dolia intended for wine had their interior treated with tar, like  transport amphorae. The dolia were often sunk into the floor. Because of their size their function as a transport vessel was secondary.…

Amphora stamps

(883 words)

Author(s): Docter, Roald Fritjof (Amsterdam)
[German version] A. Purpose and use Some amphorae were stamped for differentiation before firing. Amphora stamps (AS) verified the origin or the producer of the amphora's contents. Wine amphorae, in particular, were impressed with town emblems and the names of presiding magistrates. This can be attributed to the primacy of wine among ancient foodstuffs and to the fact that wine especially varied considerably depending on the region and the year, thus making a label necessary. Only in the Roman period …


(413 words)

Author(s): Docter, Roald Fritjof (Amsterdam)
[German version] Bucchero is the typically Etruscan shiny blackware pottery of the 7th and 6th cents. BC; the term bucchero is derived from the Spanish bucaro, a type of pre-Columbian pottery, which in the 19th cent. -- at the same time that the first finds were made in Etruria -- was imitated by the Portuguese. Bucchero is also used as the technical term for the grey-black ceramics of other cultures, such as Ionian, Lesbian and Aeolian bucchero. Etruscan bucchero was first produced in around 660 BC, probably in  Caere, followed about ten years later by other Etruscan towns, finally in c. 600 …

Black-glaze ware

(224 words)

Author(s): Docter, Roald Fritjof (Amsterdam)
[German version] Modern term for a genre of Greek fine pottery, particularly of the Late Classical and Hellenistic periods. Sintering of iron-containing clay slip in a reducing fire yielded a glossy black result (Pottery, production of). BGW was made either by turning on a wheel or by moulding. The top coat was applied with a brush on a turning potter's wheel or was obtained by dipping in elutriated slip. BGW could also be decorated with white, red and gold painting. Repeating stamped patterns (St…

Terra sigillata

(1,520 words)

Author(s): Docter, Roald Fritjof (Amsterdam)
[German version] I. Definition and Delimitation Modern technical term for a kind of plateware of Roman fine ceramics (pottery II) with red surface and usually a name stamp. Writers of antiquity (e.g. Pin. nat. 35,160) seem to suggest a connection with Samian Ware ( Samia vasa ) [1]. TS developed around 40 BC in the west out of black-glaze ware. Black variants precede the red TS in Arezzo (Arretium) and the Po Valley (Padus). The existence of a precursor ‘red’ stage, a so-called presigillata, is disputed [2. 4]. TS quic…

Bichrome ware

(180 words)

Author(s): Docter, Roald Fritjof (Amsterdam)
[German version] Modern technical term for ceramic styles with two-tone painting, mostly black with a red overlay. It differs from  black-on-red ware in the application upon a third, unintentional colouring from the clay surface of the vessel. Several production sites have been identified. In east Cyprus kraters and jugs with handles were in particular produced as bichrome ware (BW) in the late Bronze Age. They were exported in large quantities to the Levantine coast and were also imitated there. …

Black-on-red ware

(171 words)

Author(s): Docter, Roald Fritjof (Amsterdam)
[German version] Modern technical term for a style of Phoenician and Cypriot pottery with black painting on a red, mainly polished overlay. Black-on-red ware was initially identified on Cyprus, where it was produced at the end of the Cypriot Geometric II Period (before 850 BC). It derives, however, from an east Phoenician prototype that is termed local black-on-red to distinguish it. The archetypal form of this pottery style in Cyprus is the small one-handled jug with a ribbed neck, that was used as an oil vial or a votive jug and harks back to a Phoe…


(5,885 words)

Author(s): Hausleiter | Scheibler, Ingeborg (Krefeld) | Maaß-Lindemann, Gerta | Docter, Roald Fritjof (Amsterdam)
[German version] I. Ancient Orient Soon after clay appeared as a working material in the Near East at the end of the Pre-pottery Neolithic (PPNB, c. 7th millennium BC), pottery production began in the Pottery Neolithic (6th millennium BC). Previously, vessels had been made exclusively from organic materials (e.g., wood, leather) or stone. So-called 'white ware', of a naturally occurring lime and marl mixture that hardens by itself, can be considered a precursor of pottery. Pottery, at first exclusively and later also pa…

Relief ware

(1,877 words)

Author(s): Docter, Roald Fritjof (Amsterdam)
The plasticity of its raw material makes ceramics well suited to relief decorations, either as moulded shaping of the side of the pot itself or in the form of applied parts. RW is therefore represented in the pottery repertories of all periods. In the narrower sense, however, classical archaeology uses RW to denote luxury crockery of the Hellenistic and Roman Periods made in moulds. These wares represent early examples of ceramic mass production. [German version] I. Archaic relief ware In addition to Bronze Age antecedents, there is also a rough-sided RW, particularly of t…

Stamped ware

(982 words)

Author(s): Docter, Roald Fritjof (Amsterdam)
[German version] Almost all cultures produced pottery decorated by stamping, e.g. the Greek pithos, the Etruscan impasto and bucchero. In the narrower sense, the archaeological term SW refers to the types of stamped vessels of the Hellenistic and Roman periods, esp. black-glaze ware and sigillata pottery of Late Antiquity from North Africa (Terra sigillata). The practice of stamping vessels was introduced in black-glaze ware at Athens around the mid 5th cent. BC [1]. In particular, stamped vessels included palmettes, ivy and olive leaves, meanders,…

West Slope Ware

(281 words)

Author(s): Docter, Roald Fritjof (Amsterdam)
[German version] Modern term for a genre of Greek fine pottery, particularly from the eastern Mediterranean of the Late Classical and Hellenistic periods. The original German name 'Westabhangkeramik' was coined in 1901 by C. Watzinger [6] for pots discovered shortly before in Athens on the western slope of the Acropolis. It is a genre of black-glaze ware, which in addition is decorated with white, pink or yellowish slip ornamentations, often in combination with scorings, vertical fluting and wheel…

Pilgrim flasks

(142 words)

Author(s): Docter, Roald Fritjof (Amsterdam)
[German version] Modern technical term for a type of flat or flat rounded containers of clay or metal, less often of stone and faience (‘Saitic New Year's bottles’, Sais). The Greeks perhaps knew this type as kṓthōn; it owes its modern name to the medieval ampullae in which blessed water was taken from pilgrim sites, especially from the Egyptian sanctuary of Menas (Menas ampullae). PFs possess either two small loops or two to four axial belt tabs. From the Late Bronze Age Rhodian, Cyprian and Levantine PFs developed the Iron Age P…


(200 words)

Author(s): Docter, Roald Fritjof (Amsterdam)
[German version] ( píthos, plural píthoi). The largest clay storage vessel of the Greeks (called dolium by the Romans), often taller than a man. Píthoi were made in specialised, sometimes travelling workshops and were shaped by hand on a slowly revolving wheel. They served as storage containers for wine, olive oil and grain on farms, in town houses and palaces. In the Minoan palace of Knossos píthoi were found in their original positions embedded in the floor of the storage room. A lower and more constant storage temperature which enhances the storage life of t…
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