image/svg+xml311XII/2/2021INTERDISCIPLINARIA ARCHAEOLOGICANATURAL SCIENCES IN ARCHAEOLOGYhomepage: http://www.iansa.euThematic ReviewContextualising Artisanal Interplay and Technological Changes on Iron Age Naxos (Cyclades). Some Preliminary ObservationsXenia Charalambidou1*1Faculty of Humanities, Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam, De Boelelaan 1105, 1081 HV Amsterdam, Netherlands1. IntroductionScholars nowadays, starting with Peregrine Horden and Nicholas Purcell’s (2000) seminal book The Corrupting Sea: A Study of Mediterranean History, increasingly argue that in the Mediterranean Basin we witness a long-term interplay between the geographies of microregions and microenvironments, and the broader connectivity between coastal and upland settlements (see Broodbank, 2000; 2013; Norwich, 2006; Abulafa, 2010; Knapp and van Dommelen, 2014; Bonnier, 2016). Current research on Mediterranean islands in particular, in diferent periods of antiquity, demonstrates that insularity, fragmentation and maritime connectivity were key features of these communities (Broodbank, 2000; Constantakopoulou, 2007; 2017). Islands – due to their physical circumstances – constitute naturally defned microcosms and can be considered “laboratories” for the study of socio-cultural processes in the past. The same geographical circumstances dictate that island communities are forced to make strategic choices – to either remain isolated or become connected.The Early Iron Age (EIA) and especially the 8thcentury BC was a period of major transformations within Greek societies that beheld an intensifcation of settlement and population growth, resulting in connectivity and mobility between both neighbouring and far-fung communities, such as were created by the Greek diaspora movements to southern Italy and Sicily. Several Aegean regions, including Euboea and Naxos in the Cyclades, revived their trade networks in the Mediterranean soon after the collapse of the Mycenaean palatial systems, especially from the 10thcentury BC onwards. On Naxos (Figure 1), the largest Cycladic island, evidence of an increasing connectivity in material culture is also seen between communities of the coast (harbour town of Naxos) and the rural hinterland, intensifying further in the 8thcentury BC. The ceramic products of Naxian craftsmanship can enhance our understanding of interactions between the local communities of the island and beyond.Volume XII ● Issue 2/2021 ● Pages 311–329*Corresponding author. E-mail: xenia.charalambidou@gmail.comARTICLE INFOArticle history:Received: 12thMarch 2021Accepted: 10thNovember 2021DOI: words:Iron AgeMediterraneanthe CycladesNaxospotting traditionsartisanal interplayABSTRACTIron Age Naxos in the Cyclades ofers a nuanced insight into potting traditions of fne and coarse wares. Geometric Naxian coarse-ware pots belong to a hand-building tradition that was practised alongside Naxian wheel-made fne wares. Although hand-built, certain Naxian coarse vessels, i.e., storage amphorae and cooking jugs, from the second half of the 8thcentury BC onwards, show the use of rotational devices in roughouts and shaping to varying degrees, as preserved in the Tsikalario cemetery in inland Naxos. This thematic review, which serves as an introduction to on-going research, sets out the goals and approaches of a technological study which is also investigating the use of rotational devices on Iron Age Naxian vessels alongside other co-existing (hand-made) potting traditions. It is argued that such technological phenomena/changes observed are part of a wider picture that includes interactions and cross-fertilisation between ceramic artisans in the Iron Age settlements of the island.
image/svg+xmlIANSA 2021 ● XII/2 ● 311–329Xenia Charalambidou: Contextualising Artisanal Interplay and Technological Changes on Iron Age Naxos (Cyclades). Some Preliminary Observations3122. ApproachWithin the NWO-funded Melting Pot Project at Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam,1which examines interconnections between the Greek motherlands and the “colonial” and indigenous milieux in southern Italy and Sicily, my postdoctoral research (Subproject 3: “Pots & Pans: analysis and comparison of pottery production and consumption in ancient Greek mother-cities and in indigenous and colonial communities in Italy [ca 800–550 BC]”), initiated in 2020, includes the investigation of ancient potters’ interplay and mobility between Greece and southern Italy-Sicily.To understand artisanal interplays at a regional and interregional level, my eforts currently concentrate on characterising and documenting the diferent pottery chaînes opératoiresor production sequences to postulate the degree and range of social dynamics and interactions of communities in contact (Leroi-Gourhan, 1993; Gosselain, 2000; Albero Santacreu, 2017; description and identifcation recently in Roux and Courty, 2019).Specifc research questions are constructed within the framework of:1) The identifcation and characterisation of diferent potting traditions at diferent scales, e.g., urban/countryside, coastal/hinterland, indigenous/immigrant.2) Documenting changes in those traditions.3) Understanding the nature and range of technological changes that will help us appreciate in turn issues of transmission of technical and stylistic knowledge, “communities of practice” (Lave and Wenger, 1991; Wenger, 1998; Roddick and Stahl, 2016), the social 1The full title of the multi-disciplinary Melting Pot Projectis: “What went into the melting pot? Land-use, agriculture, and craft production as indicators for the contributions of Greek migrants and local inhabitants to the so-called Greek “colonisation” in Italy” (NWO-funded project no. VC.GW17.136, directed by Prof. J.P. Crielaard), see Crielaard et al., 2020.organisation of production and formation of social groups and identities.4) How production practices related to consumption choices within diferent communities.Characterising and diferentiating between Iron Age local potting traditions on Cycladic Naxos (Figure 1a) is part of the research I am conducting in the framework of the Melting Pot Project. Naxos, according to later colonisation mythography, participated in the Greek diaspora movements to Italy, by being, together with Chalcis on Euboea, a partner in the foundation of Sicilian Naxos (734 BC).This thematic review serves as an introduction to on-going research that explores Cycladic Naxian craftsmanship, summarising also previous work on Naxian pottery studies.3. Methodological considerations and restrictionsThere are several initial constraints operating in terms of fnding the proper contexts, i.e., much of this evidence for the EIA and Archaic period is fragmentary and preserved contexts vary from region to region, but even so many aspects of production and consumption during these periods can be remarked, based on the existing evidence within ancient settlement areas.The Melting Pot ProjectSubproject 3 research combines macroscopic approaches (morphological, typological, stylistic), including macro-trace documentation of forming and fnishing techniques,2a literature study of ethnoarchaeological research, 2The macro-trace documentation (to be photographed by the archaeological photographer Bob Miller) has been developed as a research tool by Beatrice McLoughlin to characterise the coarse-ware traditions practised at the Iron Age settlement of Zagora on Andros. It is based on the methodologies and taxonomies developed by Agnes Gelbert to capture potential archaeological traces of forming and fnishing techniques within distinct multi-stage hand Figure 1. a) Map of Naxos, with sites mentioned in the text; b) The harbour town of Naxos with main sites (primarily burial areas) that yielded EIA remains.(a)(b)
image/svg+xmlIANSA 2021 ● XII/2 ● 311–329Xenia Charalambidou: Contextualising Artisanal Interplay and Technological Changes on Iron Age Naxos (Cyclades). Some Preliminary Observations313science-based analyses, i.e., petrographic and elemental analyses and SEM (Scanning Electron Microscope), as well as geological investigation of the production sites and experimental reconstructions (re-fring tests of pottery, fring of natural clays). Provenance analyses are used because they can signifcantly contribute to questions of cultural contacts, spatial and social mobility and the negotiation of identities.For EIA Naxian pottery, part of the petrographic and elemental (WD-XRF) analyses has been conducted.3Additional samples will supplement this research both from coastal (from the Mitropolis Square-Grotta area at the harbour town) and from hinterland regions (Tsikalario). Further analyses, especially X-radiography, will also be conducted for the documentation of certain ceramic categories, i.e., coarse wares formed or fnished with the assistance of a rotational device.4To broaden the scope of this study, collaboration between Gloria London, Beatrice McLoughlin (Iron Age Andros), and the author of this paper (Iron Age Naxos) provides awareness of the various possible ways technological processes could have taken place in the Iron Age Cyclades (based on London’s detailed work on the Cypriot traditional female potters in Kornos and Agios Demetrios in the Troodos mountains: London, 2000; 2020).5Our aim here is not to develop interpretative clues based on these ethnographic contexts (cf.Gosselain, 2016) – there are signifcant chrono-typological and regional diferences in the context London researched and in the contexts we are examining in the Iron Age Cyclades ‒ but to contribute towards the creation of an “ethnography” of the Iron Age Naxian and Andriot potting traditions.6Among the technological features London documented is that the Troodos female potters utilised the building traditions of practising potters, and points of transfer between traditions, as part of the Mali Potters Project (Gelbert, 2003; Gallay, et al., 2012).3105 samples from the cemetery of Tsikalario in inland Naxos and from the Plithos burial ground at the harbour town of Naxos; frst results in Charalambidou et al., 2017.4We should mention that there are certain limitations which impose the selection of certain types of analyses. Regarding the ceramic material from the necropolis of Tsikalario, for example, most pots are almost complete or largely restored (in previous decades), therefore, the examination of fresh radial sections using a stereomicroscope for the characterisation of technological features formed with the assistance of the wheel cannot be conducted (this analysis requires sampling at around the mid-height of the vessels: Roux, 2019, passim). X-radiography, therefore, a valued tool for the identifcation of manufacturing methods, seems to be the only possible solution here (see Berg, 2009). Solutions need to be found for the transfer of necessary equipment to Naxos for the conduct of this type of analysis. Similar problems may have forced other scholars to analyse via X-radiography a small number of samples (and usually small-sized pots), with the exception of Ina Berg’s (2009) detailed work, who managed to process ninety-fve open and closed coarse, semi-coarse and fne Cretan vessels, dating from Early Minoan III through to Late Minoan II. 5Documentation of pre-industrial Cyprus by London reveals the performative interplay of the potters’ actions, the clay medium, the tools they used to shape it, exchange of motor skills, visits between potting communities (based on kinship ties and teacher-apprenticeship networks), and the movements of practitioners.6Cf.Hamilakis, 2016 who proposes the term “archaeological ethnography”. turntable to shape medium-size and larger vessels, ofering insights for possible ways of the use of the rotational devices in roughouts and shaping to varying degrees for the Iron Age contexts on Naxos and Andros.4. From the Bronze to the Iron AgeAfter the introduction of the wheel in the Aegean during the Early and Middle Bronze Age, the potter’s wheel was used throughout the Late Bronze era. Increasing evidence from Bronze Age Crete (e.g., Jefra, 2011; 2013; Berg, 2015) and the Cyclades (Berg, 2007a; 2007b; Gorogianni et al.,2016; Abell and Hilditch, 2016) indicates that pottery production using the wheel was much more variable than originally thought, implying complex technological phenomena that involved diferent potting communities. Mycenaean pottery was produced on such a device for numerous categories, from painted vessels to unpainted fne to medium-coarse classes in a wide range of regions from the Peloponnese to Thessaly (Choleva et al., 2020, with bibliography). Overall, there is now a growing body of research on Bronze Age regional productions and the complex patterns of the uptake of new techniques and vessel types in various parts of the Aegean (Gauß et al., 2015; Abell and Hilditch, 2016; Kiriatzi and Knappett, 2016; Lis et al., 2020), which is changing our understanding of the nature of ceramic traditions, and both communities of practice and of consumption.The efect of the collapse of the Mycenaean palatial system on pottery production in the transition from the Bronze to the Iron Age remains a terra incognitaarea of research in many areas of the Greek world, including the Cyclades. It, nevertheless, is becoming evident that EIA vessels dedicated to the consumption of drink and food, often of fne/semi-fne fabrics, are usually made on the wheel (although fne hand-made wares can also be found), and when examined in relation to the medium or coarse hand-made wares they seem to indicate distinct modes of production (see Strack, 2007, p.256). Only one technological study to date exists relating to the EIA central Aegean that documents pottery chaînes opératoires(of fne wares) after the disintegration of Mycenaean palaces; thanks to this study by Štěpán Rückl and Loe Jacobs (2016) very recently the picture as we know it for the Protogeometric period has begun to alter, but this, for the time being, concerns only fne wares. Rückl and Jacobs have argued that, contrary to the established notion that wheel-throwing was the exclusive technique used to produce Protogeometric fne-ware pottery, at least part of this ceramic category was actually wheel-coiled, as evidence shows from Mitrou, Halos and Lefkandi in central Greece.Sara Strack’s (2007) and Jean Sébastien Gros’ (2007) PhD theses have also created a solid foundation against which other sections of the ceramic material culture can be characterised and documented technologically in the future (see also Lis, 2009). Strack’s research concentrated on Late Bronze Age (LBA) and EIA hand-made pottery, mostly of
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