The sunset of Gortyn: amphorae in 7th –8th centuries AD

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Abstract

Gortyn (A. Di Vita [ed.] 2000-01), some new contexts, more delimited and reliable, allow us to define bettercirculation, developments, and local use of amphorae in the last periods of urban life of the Cretan city. Two contexts ofthe mid-late 7th and late 7th-8th centuries are briefly analysed, coming from different quarters of the town (the OldAgora and the Early Byzantine houses near the “Praetorium”), and resulting from different formative processes, whichcould represent the circulation trends just before, and in the re-occupation phase after the earthquake thatdismembered the Late Roman urban layout at the end of the 7th/early 8th century. They display a variety of importsfrom transmarine regions (N-Africa, Egypt, Palestina/Lebanon, Greece and Asia Minor, N-Syria and Cyprus) still inmid-7th century, showing after a drastic restraint. Then some containers of the “family” labelled Byzantine GlobularAmphorae/BGA prevail, both imported from diverse, small- scale production centres spread in the Aegean/Byzantineareas, and manufactured in Crete. In general, we detect in the latest Cretan production a tendency to imitate the“international” types LRA 1, LRA 2 and their derivatives, and the dismissal of the traditional “Late Roman” localtypes (TRC2-4) for the derivative types TRC7-10 and TRC12 (one of the local equivalents of the BGA), produced besidethe older types TRC5-6. For the important questions, yet to be answered, about the different Cretan workshops, besidesome archaeometric and archaeological studies on the Early Byzantine wares from Pseira and Eleutherna, we will haveat our disposal the database of the Cretan clays created by N. Poulou and E. Nodarou within the “Pythagoras II”project.
Original languageEnglish
Pages477-489
Number of pages13
Publication statusPublished - 2014

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