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Terracottas in a Domestic Context: The Case of the House of Orpheus in Nea Paphos, Cyprus

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Provenance studies of archaeological ceramics based on their elemental composition illuminate the production and distribution of pottery vessels and, in the case of transport containers, of the commodities that they contained. A basic assumption is that the elemental composition of ceramics from a specific workshop or production area can be distinguished from other production groups, mainly because of the use of geochemically different clays, either singly or in combination. In some cases, however, the compositional differences between production groups are quite small. Thus, laboratory methods with high performance, in terms of precision and accuracy, such as neutron activation analysis (NAA) or wavelength dispersive X-ray fluorescence (WDXRF), are often preferred for analyzing archaeological ceramics, especially for effective comparison with reference groups and published data from other studies. Handheld portable energy dispersive XRF systems (pXRF), although increasingly used during recent years, offer lesser analytical performance, which may obscure compositional differences and currently do not offer the same potential for comparison to known reference groups. However, due to their potential for fast and non-invasive measurements, considerably larger numbers of samples can be analysed by pXRF, offering an array of advantages. We argue that pXRF offers the opportunity for an initial analytical survey of a large ceramic assemblage as the basis for efficient sample selection for laboratory analysis, covering a large number of samples and avoiding for the generation of redundant measurements. We present the application of such a stepped analytical approach to a well-studied assemblage of amphorae of the Hellenistic period at Nea Paphos, Cyprus. The analysis of 287 amphora fragments by pXRF, the grouping of that data to select samples for further analysis of 97 individuals by NAA, and the comparison of the grouping of data from both chemical techniques is presented. This leads not only to archaeological insights on the production and circulation of amphorae, but tests an innovative methodology that offers the chance to maximize and extend the application of geochemical techniques of high accuracy and precision on an assemblage-wide scale.
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The following is a compilation of publications on coroplastic topics for 2019. As this is taken from Dyabola, all reference Greek or Roman terracottas. Bibliography on coroplastic topics that focus on other areas of the ancient world are very much appreciated and can be sent to uhlenbrj@hawkmail.newpaltz.edu.
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Cyprus and Cyrenaica, two regions strongly influenced by the Alexandrian cultural heritage, which came under the Roman rule already in the 1st century BC, are simultaneously both typical and unusual examples of acculturation understood as a mixture of Hellenistic and Roman components. This is reflected in various spheres of life, including the architecture of the houses owned by members of the urban elite which are investigated in this article. Two residential units – the House of Leukaktios at Ptolemais in Cyrenaica and the House of Orpheus at Nea Paphos in Cyprus – will be presented to discuss different attitudes towards Romanisation from the perspective of an individual as reflected by particular dwellings.
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The so-called House of Orpheus, explored under the direction of Demetrios Michaelides a few decades ago, has so far been studied only fragmentarily. Since 2018, a new project began whose objective is to complete the studies on the site. To this end, non-invasive fieldworks (at Nea Paphos) are currently performed as well as library and archival research focused on gathering all published and unpublished information on the House. The results of the new documentation made on the site, supplemented with archival data, will enable a virtual, three-dimensional reconstruction of selected architectural units. The collected material will serve to re-define the house’s spaces from a historical perspective. The comprehensive evaluation of the architecture of the House of Orpheus will become an important point of reference in studies on the residential architecture of ancient Cyprus and other regions of the eastern Mediterranean.
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The double anniversary of 50 years of archaeological research and the 75th birthday of prof. Wiktor Andrzej Daszewski has been honored with the publication of a book: Classica Orientalia. Essays Presented to Wiktor Andrzej Daszewski on his 75th Birthday. Classica Orientialia is a collection of essays presented to Prof. Wiktor Andrzej Daszewski by his friends, colleagues and associates on the occasion of his 75th birthday. Themes derive from archaeological and related sciences research carried out on Hellenistic, Graeco-Roman, Byzantine and Islamic sites in the Eastern Mediterranean (mainly Egypt, Syria and Cyprus). Polish archaeological and conservation projects are extensively represented, reflecting the interests and lifetime achievement of Professor Daszewski. Contributors include Jean-Charles Balty, Janine Balty, Giuseppina Capriotti-Vittozzi, Rafał Czerner, Piotr Dyczek, Pavlos Flourentzos, Michał Gawlikowski, Włodzimierz Godlewski, Tomasz Herbich, Maria Kaczmarek, Zsolt Kiss, Jerzy Kolendo, Barbara Lichocka, John Lund, Adam Łajtar, Adam Łukaszewicz, Grzegorz Majcherek, Henryk Meyza, Karol Myśliwiec, Zofia Sztetyłło and others. The volume was issued by the Polish Centre of Mediterranean Archaeology of the University of Warsaw with which Prof. Daszewski has been associated for two decades, first as its Secretary and then as Director, as well as head of two missions – in Nea Paphos on Cyprus and in Marina el-Alamein in Egypt.
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The largest corpus of clay figurines from the Cretan Bronze Age comes from ritual mountain sites known as peak sanctuaries. In this paper, we explore how the ‛Figures in 3D’ project contributes to our understanding of these figurines, aiding in the study of the technologies of figurine construction and the typological analysis of distinctive styles. We discuss how the project has, more unexpectedly, begun to create new dialogues and opportunities for moving between the material and the digital by taking a multifaceted approach that combines the data from 3D models and 3D prints with experimental work in clay.
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32 stamped amphora handles were excavated on the Agora site in Paphos (ancient Nea Paphos), Cyprus, within the framework of the Paphos Agora Project conducted by the Department of Classical Archaeology of the Jagiellonian University Institute of Archaeology under the direction of Professor E. Papuci-Władyka since 2011. Most of them were found in contexts dated from the Hellenistic to the Roman period. There are, however, a few stamped handles that were uncovered in definitively uncontaminated Hellenistic contexts. Most probably all of the stamped handles date to the Hellenistic period. They come from Greek amphora production centres including Rhodes, Knidos, Thasos in the Aegean and from Sinope on the Black Sea coast. Most of these stamps are commonly known, although there are several examples of a special interest.
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Many archaeological objects are recovered as fragments, and 3D modelling offers enormous potential for the analysis and reconstruction of large assemblages. In particular, structured light scanning provides an accurate record of individual artefacts and can facilitate the identification of joins through details of breakage surfaces and overall morphology. The creation of 3D digital models has the further advantage of enabling the records to be accessed and manipulated remotely, obviating the need for prolonged access to the original materials in museums or repositories. Here, the authors detail the use of structured light scanning to produce a corpus of 3D models based on a sample from a large assemblage of terracotta and limestone sculptural fragments from the Cypro-Archaic period (c. 750–475 BC) at Athienou-Malloura, Cyprus.
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This essay argues that Romanization revolves around understanding objects in motion and that Roman archaeologists should therefore focus on (1) globalization theory and (2) material-culture studies as important theoretical directions for the (near) future. The present state and scope of the Romanization debate, however, seem to prevent a fruitful development in that direction. The first part of this paper therefore briefly analyses the Romanization debate and argues that large parts of ‘Anglo-Saxon Roman archaeology’ have never been really post-colonial, but in fact from the mid-1990s onwards developed a theoretical position that should be characterized as anti-colonial. This ideologically motivated development has resulted in several unhealthy divides within the field, as well as in an uncomfortable ending of the Romanization debate. The present consensus within English-speaking Roman archaeology ‘to do away with Romanization’ does not seem to get us at all ‘beyond Romans and Natives’, and, moreover, has effectively halted most of the discussion about how to understand and conceptualize ‘Rome’. The second part of the article presents two propositions outlining how to move forward: globalization theory and material-culture studies. Through this focus we will be able to better understand ‘Rome’ as (indicating) objects in motion and the human–thing entanglements resulting from a remarkable punctuation of connectivity. This focus is important as an alternative perspective to all existing narratives about Romanization because these remain fundamentally historical, in the sense that they reduce objects to expressions (of identity) alone. It is time for our discussions about ‘Rome’ to move ‘beyond representation’ and to become genuinely archaeological at last, by making material culture, with its agency and materiality, central to the analyses.
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This book presents a wide overview of certain aspects of the pottery analysis and summarizes most of the methodological and theoretical information currently applied in archaeology in order to develop wide and deep analysis of ceramic pastes. The book provides an adequate framework for understanding the way pottery production is organised and clarifies the meaning and role of the pottery in archaeological and traditional societies. The goal of this book is to encourage reflection, especially by those researchers who face the analysis of ceramics for the first time, by providing a background for the generation of their own research and to formulate their own questions depending on their concerns and interests. The three-part structure of the book allows readers to move easily from the analysis of the reality and ceramic material culture to the world of the ideas and theories and to develop a dialogue between data and their interpretation.
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This paper deals with archaeological issues which lend themselves to a simple but very effective treatment by means of x-ray spectroscopy. The common feature of all the samples presented here is that they can be reduced to a simple spectroscopic question concerning the presence or absence of certain chemical elements in the ancient pigments.
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This review article addresses current controversies and opportunities in research on the roles, uses, and meanings of “Egypt” in ancient Roman visual and material culture. Accordingly, the article investigates problems of definition and interpretation; provides a critical review of current scholarly approaches; and analyzes the field’s intersections with current intellectual developments in the broader fields of archaeology and art history. It is argued that research on Roman Aegyptiaca can gain much from, and is poised to contribute substantially to, (1) 21st-century archaeology’s “material turn”; (2) the construction of new interpretive frameworks for cross-cultural interactions and “hybridization”; and (3) increased attention to the relationships among artifacts, contexts, and assemblages. Roman visual representations of Egypt provide a rich testing ground for research on intercultural exchange, the lived experience of empire, and the complex entanglement of people, things, and images.
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During the summer of 1995, Turkish archaeologists discovered a unique Late Classical tomb in the Western Necropolis of Assos. A modestly designed cist grave, Tomb 4 surprised excavators with the richest cache of grave goods ever found at the ancient city. The 62 well-preserved artifacts, which date from the 4th century BCE, when Aristotle's school of philosophy was active at Assos, consist of terracotta figurines, gold and bronze jewelry, and vases.
Chapter
The present paper offers some suggestions for the role of coroplastic studies in the ongoing scholarly discourse on defining and refining an “archaeology of ritual”. As the case study of Greco-Roman Egypt demonstrates, terracotta figurines provide valuable data for rituals embedded within the daily routines and living space of the household. Archaeological and textual data suggest that people in Greco-Roman Egypt used terracotta figurines for a range of domestic rituals, including the veneration of cult images at domestic shrines, the practice of royal cult, and the performance of magical rites. Coroplastic studies thus provide important evidence for the interrelationships between “popular” and “official” religion, as well as “religion” and “magic”.
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This paper discusses the first results of an interdisciplinary research project on ancient cooking pots from Cyprus contextualising this ceramic corpus within its social and historical milieu. Late Bronze Age cooking pots from the urban centre of Kalavasos-Ayios Dhimitrios, and the contemporary, short-lived settlements of Pyla-Kokkinokremos and Maa-Palaeokastro were examined through typological classifications, fabric composition and the technology of their production, to determine technological and socioeconomic change. Ceramic petrography was employed for the mineralogical and technological characterisation of the samples.
Article
A variety of ceramic fabrics bearing mudstone inclusions (either naturally existing in the clay or added as temper) are attested in several sites in South-Western (SW) Cyprus. Within the Mamonia terrane of SW Cyprus mudstone-bearing lithologies are divided into two main groups. Sediments of the Ayios Photios group (sandstones, siltstones, mudstones, calcarenites, occasional limestones and chert) were deposited in marine conditions and close to the continental slope. In contrast, the contemporaneous Dhiarizos group contains radiolarian mudstones and cherts deposited in deep-sea conditions. Mudstones and cherts from both formations share similar macroscopic characteristics (distinctive red colour, fine texture) and can be confused for one another, especially when examined only as small-scale ceramic inclusions. Being able to differentiate between the different inclusion types and to link them to one of the two formations leads to useful conclusions regarding the provenance of ceramic samples within the Mamonia terrane.
Article
Sanctuaries and religion were instrumental in forming the worldview of the ancient Cypriots, and one would expect that social power relations, meanings, and identities were expressed through the holistic concept of sacred landscapes. This contribution primarily discusses the change in the use and perception of sacred landscapes, which were originally constructed in the era of the Cypriot basileis (kings) but continued to function in a new Political environment under the control of the Ptolemaic strategos (general). Furthermore, it proposes a contextualized methodology for approaching the study of sacred landscapes in Iron Age Cyprus, revealing new possibilities and their effects on our understanding of Cypriot social, cultural, and political histories and at the same time indicating the limits and the dangers of such a task. Drawing on ideas from theoretical/methodological studies of landscape archaeology and their relevant applications in other Mediterranean histories, this article explores how spatial order (i.e., the hierarchical arrangement of sites), as observed in sacred landscapes, is expected to articulate social order and to be linked with shifting relations of power and cultural influence in an ancient Cypriot context. It also suggests that a closer consideration of sacred landscapes and their complexities from a long-term perspective not only makes the transition from the Cypriot city-kingdoms to the Hellenistic period more comprehensible but also illuminates the political and sociocultural histories of both periods when they are studied in their own terms.*
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This paper describes the composition of the pigments used for the decoration of Greek terracotta figurines, in the light of previous scientific analyses, and of supplementary analyses recently made by the Research Laboratory of the British Museum. /// Cet article décrit la composition des pigments utilisés pour la décoration des figurines grecques en terre cuite, à la lumière d'analyses scientifiques préalables et d'analyses supplémentaires effectuées récemment par le Laboratoire de Recherches du British Museum. /// Diese Abhandlung beschreibt die Zusammensetzung der Pigmente, die für die Bemalung griechischer Terrakottafigürchen gebraucht worden sind, im Lichte früherer naturwissenschaftlicher Analysen und der ergänzenden Analysen, die kürzlich vom Research-Laboratorium des British Museum vorgenommen worden sind. /// Quest'articolo descrive la composizione dei pigmenti adoperati nella decorazione di figurine greche di terracotta, sotto la luce di previe analisi scientifiche e di analisi supplementari che recentemente vennero eseguite dal Research Laboratory del British Museum. /// Este artículo describe la composición de los pigmentos empleados para la decoración de figurillas de terracota griegas en la luz de previas análisis científicas, y de análisis suplementarias hechas recientemento por el Laboratorio de Investigación Científica del Museo Británico.
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In this richly illustrated book, art historian John R. Clarke helps us see the ancient Roman house 'with Roman eyes'. Clarke presents a range of houses, from tenements to villas, and shows us how enduring patterns of Roman wall decoration tellingly bear the cultural, religious, and social imprints of the people who lived with them. In case studies of seventeen excavated houses, Clarke guides us through four centuries of Roman wall painting, mosaic, and stucco decoration, from the period of the 'Four Styles' (100 B.C. to A.D. 79) to the mid- third century. The First Style Samnite House shows its debt to public architecture in its clear integration of public and private spaces. The Villa of Oplontis asserts the extravagant social and cultural climate of the Second Style. Gem-like Third-Style rooms from the House of Lucretius Fronto reflect the refinement and elegance of Augustan tastes. The Vettii brothers' social climbing helps explain the overburdened Fourth-Style decoration of their famous house. And evidence of remodelling leads Clarke to conclude that the House of Jupiter and Ganymede became a gay hotel in the second century. In his emphasis on social and spiritual dimensions, Clarke offers a contribution to Roman art and architectural history that is both original and accessible to the general reader. The book's superb photographs not only support the author's findings but help to preserve an ancient legacy that is fast succumbing to modern deterioration resulting from pollution and vandalism.
Article
Although so much that has been written about ancient terracotta figurines has concentrated particularly on their arrangement into groups of various kinds, very little attention has been given specifically to the principles necessarily governing any such classification. The object of the present article is to attempt to remedy this neglect in so far as it concerns Greek mould-made terracottas, more especially of the archaic period. This chronological restriction has been thought desirable, partly because of the limitations of my own acquaintance at first hand with material of later date, partly because rather different technical factors do somewhat influence the classification of, for example, Hellenistic terracottas. But it is not to be overlooked that, with suitable modifications, the principles considered here probably have a validity that extends far beyond the archaic period in time and, for that matter, far beyond Greece in area. In the interests of simplicity and clarity it will be necessary to restrict to the basically essential the illustrative material employed and the critical appraisals of classificatory systems used by earlier writers. To offset this brevity let it here be stated that it is expected that the near future will see the publication of the first of a series of detailed studies in which the principles here evolved will be applied on a large scale. Technical matters will be dealt with here only in so far as they have a direct bearing on classification.