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Ö Z E T

Myra Seramik Hamur Gruplarının Kap Tipleri ile Değerlendirilmesi
Ayşe C. TÜRKER*

Unglazed pottery is usually omitted from the scope of most research concerning the Byzantine period, one reason being that preserved Medieval strata are few in number. This unglazed pottery was usually produced for everyday use, and thus, the same vessel retained its form over a very long period of time without undergoing any change. Due to the lack of properties facilitating the dating of this material, the evaluation of this material produced from systematic excavations gains an additional importance. At Demre-Myra, the Medieval strata are reached about 5-75-6.00 meters below present day ground level and both the structures and small finds that have been uncovered have been very well preserved due to the alluvium layer that buried them. This aspect of the stratigraphy of the site enabled us to obtain reliable data, in addition to the fact that the church building remains standing to its full height, which facilitates the evaluation of the excavation finds together with the in situ data. The results thus acquired contribute firstly to the dating process.

It is inferred from the evaluation of this unglazed Byzantine pottery that there were 12 vessel forms which were employed for four main functions. The first group includes those vessels used to contain cooked food and for heating the food when required. The second group includes bowls and plates employed to serve the food, as well as jugs and other small vessels employed to serve liquids. The third group consists of those vessels employed in the transportation and in the storage of dry food and liquids: amphorae, jars and pithoi. The fourth group consists of vessels that contained wine for liturgical use. The Unguentaria containing holy oil, relate to the cult are the vessels forming the fourth group. The aim was to retrieve multi-faceted data from these groups of finds. One of our targets within this scope was acquiring the data from the mineralogical and petrographical analyses of the unglazed pottery. Clay analysis results were made possible with the financial support from the Suna & İnan Kıraç Research Institute on Mediterranean Civilisations (AKMED). The analysis was carried out at the facilities of Etibank, at Hacettepe University Department of Earth Sciences, at the General Directorate of Mineral Research and Exploration (MTA) and at the Turkish Cement Manufacturers' Association (TÇMB). X-RD analysis was conducted at Etibank and Hacettepe University; the thin sections were prepared at MTA and the SEM analysis was conducted at the TÇMB.

The scope of this paper covers the evaluation of the mineralogical and petrographical analysis results from the unglazed pottery from Demre-Myra, together with the data concerning the abovementioned groups of vessels. Our study progressed through three steps.

In the first step, all the vessel forms observed in the abovementioned groups, their provenances, and their published parallels in the literature were individually evaluated. The results obtained were supported by the drawings as well as with thin section and SEM analysis photographs. The second step involved efforts aimed at establishing links between these detailed evaluations. The results obtained from this step revealed those vessel types that were of local production and those that were imported wares and their distribution according to their clay fabric. The data obtained from the evaluations of both steps led to the evaluation of points that might indicate the duration of the exploitation of the local clay beds.

The mineralogical and petrographical analysis of the clays used in Demre-Myra pottery, whose chemical compounds are defined above, have shown that these clays belong to the porous type. According to the technical data from the clay samples, obtained from the MTA laboratories, only sample no. 4 has far fewer pores. The clays of the samples have been defined as being both clayey and ferrous. The X-rays revealed traces of sintering, which further suggests that firing could have been at a temperature of about 1000 degrees centigrade. It has been observed that sample no. 4 slightly differed from other clay fabric samples as it has a fine grained and a compact-fused structure. In samples Nos. 1 and 2, the traces of deformation and refraction structures observed in the minerals bring to mind the grinding of the clay.

The porous clay fabric observed should be closely related to the functions of these vessels. Unglazed pottery was employed for wares of daily use and mainly included those forms designed to meet the local demand and in consequence, it is generally difficult to find parallels for this material. On the other hand, the large number of local vessel types and examples provides us with archaeological data that will lead to the identification of local production groups. Clay sample no. 3 has a very large number of examples, which in turn indicates local production. This clay is observed from various groups of vessels dating from the 6th through to the 13th centuries and this suggests that a local-regional clay bed was exploited over a very long period of time. The coarse grained group of this clay fabric is found in large sized vessels such as jars and pithoi, while the fine grained group is found especially in vessels employed as food containers and for heating the food as also for the small vessels and bowls utilised to contain liquids. In addition this clay was also used for the production of some rare vessel types among the Demre-Myra examples which might point to its use in the local production of some possibly exported wares. Among the Demre-Myra examples, the vessels produced entirely from clay no. 3 were those employed for holding and heating the food, for pithoi, for small liquid containing vessels and for the cups for the holy wine. Most of the amphorae of type 2 were also produced from this clay. Although these amphorae are amongst the common finds from Demre-Myra, parallels are rarely found elsewhere. In addition the commonly encountered Byzantine amphorae of types 1 and 4 include examples produced from clay no. 3 at Demre-Myra. When the abovementioned examples, dated from stratigraphical evidence and the parallel examples are jointly evaluated, it can be seen that clay no. 6 was only employed for those vessels dating to the 6th century at the latest. All the clays, with the exception of no. 6 were employed from the 6th century through to the 13th century. It can be seen that the results obtained from this study will contribute greatly to establishing the links in the database to be established, with further contributions from future studies.


*Yrd. Doç. Dr. Ayşe C. Türker, Çanakkale Onsekiz Mart Üniversitesi, Fen-Edebiyat Fakültesi, Sanat Tarihi Bölümü, Çanakkale
E-posta: ayseturker@comu.edu.tr

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