Differentiation within the repertoire of mycenaean pottery

The role of Mycenaean pots in cultural practices probably varied not only according to social group or place. Different Mycenaean pot shapes or types of decoration may also have been endowed with a different meanings. In addition, we need to review the significance of Mycenaean vessels in the various chronological styles. The earliest Aegean imports at Enkomi were used by a very limited group. However, LH IIB-LH IIIA1 finds have been discovered in tombs in various parts of the site, indicating that Aegean pottery gradually became available to many inhabitants. At Toumba tou Skourou (site no. 105), a substantial body of Late Minoan I pottery has been discovered that is contemporaneous to the earliest imports at Enkomi.89 A concentration of thirteen of these vases has been found in tomb 1, which also produced objects of gold, silver and bronze, as well as ceramic imports from Egypt. Only a few fragments of Minoan pottery have been found in other contemporaneous tombs at Toumba tou Skourou; the retrieval of a few Minoan fragments in the settlement area suggests that this pottery was also used in non-funerary practices.90 At Ayia Irini-Palaeokastro (site no. 103), nine tombs were discovered dating to LC IA-LC IB.91 In only three of these tombs, cups were found which were imported from the Aegean. Obviously, here too Aegean pottery was not available to many people. The only other site in Cyprus with contemporary Aegean pottery is Kouklia-Palaepaphos (site no. 126), where a rim fragment of a LM IA cup was found in a well at the locality of Evreti.92 This one fragment is not enough to decide whether the use of the earliest Aegean ceramic imports at this site too was confined to a restricted group of people. The same should be said for Maroni (sites no. 116-117), where a LH IIA alabastron has been found in tomb 03.93

Various tombs at Maroni produced a range of LH IIB-LH IIIA1 vessels.94 LM II finds have not been discovered at Toumba tou Skourou (site no. 105), but tomb II at this site yielded a LM IIIA1 beaked jug, while a LH IIIA1 shallow cup was found unstratified in settlement levels.95 From Hala Sultan Tekke (site no. 65), various LH IIB-LH IIIA1 finds have been reported, mostly without secure contexts; a number of LH IIIA1 fragments were found in a well.96 Nothing can be said about the groups in the society at Hala Sultan Tekke which may be associated with the imported Aegean pottery in these styles. The same is true for Kalavasos-Ayios Dhimitrios (site no. 114), where fragments of a LH IIB-LH IIIA1 alabastron were found unstratified.97 All other sites which have yielded Mycenaean pottery dating to the time before the introduction of LH IIIA2 on the island have produced only single examples of it.98 Nevertheless, the occurrence of LH IIB-LH IIIA1 vessels at a number of sites in the

88 Knapp 1988b, 154.

89 Vermeule & Wolsky 1978; 1990, 381-383.

90 Vermeule & Wolsky 1990, 93-98; 114.

91 Pecorella 1977; Quilici 1990, 142; Graziado 1995.

92 Maier & Karageorghis 1984, 71.

94 Johnson 1980, 17-18, 27-28.

95 Vermeule & Wolsky 1990, 382.

96 Frankel & Catling 1976, 65: no. 90; Catling 1964, 36; Obrink 1983, 29; Hakansson 1989, 21: no. F1712.

97 South 1997, 156.

98 Nicolaou 1973; see also below, chapter 2.

interior of Cyprus, as well as the evidence from Maroni and Enkomi, suggests that ceramic vessels imported from the Aegean gradually became available to various different groups in the society in Cyprus during LC II.

At Maa-Palaeokastro (site no. 130) a complete LH IIIA2 globular flask was found in room 73 on floor II that has been dated to LC IIC-LC IIIA.99 At Myrtou-Pigadhes (site no. 99), a complete LH IIIA2 conical rhyton was found on the level VI floor (LC IIC-LC IIIA) of a room in the building to the east of the ashlar altar.100 Other instances in Cyprus where it is clear that Mycenaean vessels were present in archaeological strata of much later date than the ceramic style, are not known to me.101 However, the signs of repair on a Mycenaean pictorial krater from Pyla-Kokkinokremos (site no. 52)102 suggests use for a considerable length of time. In addition, signs of wear and intensive use have been observed on kraters which were deposited in tombs.103 When a ceramic vessel arrives in the archaeological record a long time after its manufacture, this may mean that it was kept very long as an heirloom or antique. It could also indicate that it was imported when already old, or that it circulated for a long period. The Aegean pots dating to the earlier phases of Cypro-Aegean contacts which have been found in archaeological strata or tombs which conform with their ceramic date show that such pots did arrive on the island during these periods. Moreover, the wide distribution of LH I-LH IIIA1 vessels within Cyprus suggests that these vessels were part of regional distribution networks.104 On this basis, it seems most likely that Aegean pots could circulate in regional exchange systems for substantial periods of time, in a few cases more than several centuries.

At Enkomi-Ayios Iakovos there were no obvious differences in the spatial and contextual distribution between Mycenaean dinner and storage vessels. Such a pattern has not been observed for Apliki-Karamallos and Athienou, where Mycenaean storage vessels seem to have possessed a specific cultural significance. It is difficult to determine whether Mycenaean dinner and storage vessels were appreciated differently at other sites in Cyprus. Each of the three Late Bronze Age burials reported from Kition (site no. 63) produced a large quantity of dinner vessels.105 A widespread use of Mycenaean dinner vessels is also suggested by their presence in various rooms on floor IV of the industrial complex in area I at the site.106 A large number of storage and dinner vessels have also been reported from contemporary levels in area II at Kition.107 At Hala Sultan Tekke (site no. 65) very few structures dating before LC III have been discovered. In the LC II tombs at the site Mycenaean dinner vessels were present in significant numbers, even though, generally, there was a relatively high proportion of Myceanean storage vessels.108 A LC II deposit from a well at the site contained a majority of Mycenaean storage jars, but it also included at least one krater, a kylix and a bowl.109 In general, Mycenaean sherds of various pot shapes appear to have been distributed widely at Hala Sultan Tekke.110 At the site of Kourion-Bamboula (site no. 122) both Mycenaean dinner and storage vessels

99 Karageorghis & Demas 1988, 231, Plate 79: no. 287.

100 Catling 1957, 42.

101 It has been suggested by Obrink (1979, 16-17) that the

LH IIIA2 pots in deposit F6031 at Hala Sultan Tekke may have been heirlooms. However, if this deposit in deed derives from a looted tomb, as is suggested by

Obrink herself, the earlier vessels may simply have been part of a funerary inventory in a tomb that was in use for several generations.

102 Karageorghis 1982b, 78.

103 Keswani 1989a, 562.

104 Nicolaou 1973.

105 Karageorghis 1974.

106 Karageorghis 1985a, 1-6.

107 Karageorghis 1985b, 88-92.

108 Bailey 1976; Karageorghis 1976, 76-78, 86-87; Astrom 1983, 146.

109 Obrink 1983, 29.

were distributed widely in the settlement deposits and in tombs.111 The frequency of Mycenaean dinner and storage vessels in the tombs at Kourion is not equal, but both types widely distributed. It seems, then, that as at Enkomi there was no difference in the appreciation between Mycenaean dinner and storage vessels in most of the other coastal centres.

A clear distinction in the cultural significance between Aegean dinner and storage vessels has been observed for Kalavasos-Ayios Dhimitrios (site no. 114), where a limited range of Mycenaean storage jars occurred in average houses, while kylikes and bowls were found on the floors of the elaborate Building X.112 In addition, the pit in room A173 in the eastern part of Building X produced a large number of Mycenaean dinner vessels.113 The presence of many animal bones in this pit suggests that these vessels had been part of an élite dining ritual. The association of Mycenaean pots with élite dining practices has at Kalavasos also been observed in tombs, of which only the richest contained imported dinner vessels.114 It has recently been argued by Louise Steel that in Cyprus Mycenaean dinner vessels were specifically monopolised by the élite in order to be employed in such occasions of ceremonial dining and drinking.115 It should be noted, however, that as yet such a pattern can only be established for Kalavasos-Ayios Dhimitrios. As stated above, the social organisation at Kalavasos-Ayios Dhimitrios was more hierarchical than elsewhere and specific élite groups had been able to acquire central control there.116 It is quite possible that élite dining ceremonies in which Mycenaean dinner vessels were used, were related to the legitimisation of the power of these groups.117 In such a case, the large numbers of Mycenaean drinking vessels in tombs and in a pit at Kalavasos-Ayios Dhimitrios could be testimony of conspicuous consumption by which valuables were taken out of circulation.118

In contrast to the monopolisation of Mycenaean dinner vessels by the élite at Kalavasos, in urban centres of more heterarchical nature not one group needed to monopolise Mycenaean vessels associated with dining - or was able to do so. In a state of continuous competition between various groups, the status of valuables is in flux and there is repeated redefinition of the significance of objects.119 It is interesting that the contextual analysis of the level IIA building in Q1W at Enkomi revealed that in this early period Mycenaean dinner vessels were restricted to residential activities. It may well have been the competition between various groups, which by LC IIC had devaluated the suitability of Mycenaean dinner vessels to serve as prestige items in cities with a complex heterarchical social structure such as Enkomi.

The monopolisation of Mycenaean drinking vessels, such as attested at Kalavasos, is in contrast with the relatively wide dispersal of Mycenaean drinking vessels which has been demonstrated for Apliki and Athienou. At Pyla-Kokkinokremos (site no. 58) LH IIIB dinner vessels, likewise, were widely distributed in the habitation complexes and they were interspersed with a large variety of Cypriot domestic items.120 Mycenaean storage vessels have not been reported from the habitation buildings in area II, but a Minoan coarse ware stirrup jar was found there. In level VI at Myrtou-Pigadhes (site no. 99), Mycenaean-type bowls, as well as kraters, kylikes and cups were also widely distributed.121

110 Astrom 1986a, 64.

111 Benson 1972, 34, 107-121.

112 South & Russell 1993.

113 South 1988; South & Russell 1993, 305-306.

114 South 1997, 163-171; Steel 1999b.

115 Steel 1998, 292.

116 Keswani 1996, 230-232.

117 Unfortunately, little is known of the Mycenaean pot tery from the settlements of Maroni- Vournes (site no. 116) and Alassa (site no. 123), two other sites which, according to Keswani (1996, 229-230, 232), were hierarchically organised.

118 Cf. Voutsaki 1997, 37-40..

119 Bourdieu 1984, 208-225; Appadurai 1986, 21, 56-57;

120 Karageorghis & Demas 1984, 33-49.

121 Catling 1957, 45-47.

Aegean storage vessels, were also found in various parts of that site, but were less abundant than dinner vessels. At Maa-Palaeokastro (site no. 130) bowls and cups in LH IIIB and LH IIIC style were widely distributed all over the site.122 Obviously, at a number of places with relatively small amounts of Aegean pottery, Mycenaean dinner vessels were relatively widely distributed. It should be noted that all the sites mentioned here date to the very end of LC IIC, or to the LC IIC-LC IIIA transition.

Above, I have concluded that the small quantities, but representing a wide repertoire, of Mycenaean pottery at secondary and tertiary sites in Cyprus should be understood as the result of restricted access to an élite life-style. In this respect, it is of interest that at both Athienou and Apliki concentrations of Mycenaean finds have been found in association with objects that refer to a cosmopolitan world, without actually being part of it. The associations with élite dining rituals so clearly indicated at Kalavasos-Ayios Dhimitrios, may well have been an element making Mycenaean dinner vessels particular suitable to serve in systems of restricted distribution from primary centres to lower order sites.123 The élite connotations of Mycenaean dinner vessels made them active components of strategies of regional distribution.

The widespread use of Mycenaean dinner vessels at smaller sites at the end of LC IIC indicates that the exclusivity of this pottery by that time had devaluated. It is of interest that the Cypriot ceramic industry during an advanced stage of LC IIC began to incorporate various Mycenaean pot shapes, among which were mostly dinner vessels.124 It is possible that social groups not belonging to the urban coastal élite groups increasingly emulated the cosmopolitan life-style.125 The role of Mycenaean dinner vessels as a symbol of such a life-style seems to have resulted in the appropriation of these vessels by many groups to the point that these vessels were actually manufactured locally. Most Mycenaean storage vessels in Cyprus are quite small and probably contained oils or unguents.126 Activities involving these substances were probably quite widespread in antiquity and the Mycenaean storage pots do not seem to have had specifically élite connotations.127 It is of interest to note that such pots are not very abundant at Apliki and Athienou and were restricted to specific circumstances. Obviously, due to their less active role in social strategies, the use of Mycenaean storage pots was not subject to the same emulation as dinner vessels.

It has repeatedly been asserted that Mycenaean vessels with pictorial decoration were specifically produced for and used by élite groups in Cyprus and the Near East.128 Evidence for such a hypothesis may come from Enkomi, where specific groups expressed themselves by including notable quantities of pictorial kraters in their funerary ritual. The tombs in which these concentrations of pictorial kraters have been attested do not distinguish themselves in any other way from the rest of the funerary cellars at Enkomi and it is difficult to identify the social groups at Enkomi for whom this type of vessel seems to have been a medium to distinguish themselves.129

122 Karageorghis & Demas 1988, 216-232.

Kling 1987, 103, 106; 1989, 130, 170-173; Sherratt 1991, 191-193.

123 The restricted distribution of Mycenaean pottery was probably part of the system of wealth finance in which small quantities of prestige goods figured, see Keswani

125 See, for example, Veblen 1899, 22-34; Appadurai 1986, 57; Glennie 1995, 180-181; Miller 1995, 27-28.

126 Leonard 1981, 94-101.


127 Steel 1998, 294-296.

124 The vessel types which are most frequently mentioned as being produced on Cyprus from LC IIC onwards are shallow bowls, deep bowls and 'Rude' or 'Pastoral'

style kraters; see Sherratt & Crouwel 1987, 341-342;

128 Sherratt 1982, 183; Leonard 1987, 264-266; Keswani 1989a, 562-565; 1989b, 58-69; Steel 1998, 292-294.

129 Sherratt (1999, 185-188) has argued that pictorial kraters were aimed at sub-elite groups in Cypriot soci-

In each of the three Late Bronze Age burials at Kition (site no. 63) pictorial vessels were included in the funerary inventory.130 Mostly, such decoration occurred on jugs and bowls, while pictorial kraters were exclusively in the 'Rude' or 'Pastoral' style. Even though a few non-pictorial Mycenaean kraters came from these tombs, it does not seem that at Kition specific people used these vessels to distinguish themselves by including large quantities of them in their funerary ritual. The widespread occurrence of Mycenaean pictorial pots on floor IV in areas I and II indicates that these vessels were available to many people at Kition.131 A differentiation in the presence of Mycenaean pictorial pottery between various tombs can possibly be seen at Hala Sultan Tekke (site no. 65), where one of the tombs excavated in 1968 produced six Aegean kraters, several of which have pictorial decoration.132 Mycenaean pictorial pottery was virtually absent from the three LC II tombs that have been investigated in area 6 at the same site.133 Fragments of Mycenaean pictorial pottery have been found in various parts of the settlement at Hala Sultan Tekke, indicating a relatively wide distribution of this kind of pottery.134 At Maroni (site no. 116) Mycenaean pictorial pottery was discovered in a number of tombs.135 At Kourion-Bamboula (site no. 122) only very few Mycenaean pictorial vessels have been found, mainly amphoroid kraters.136 At Kouklia-Palaepaphos (site no. 126) Mycenaean pictorial pottery was apparently extremely rare.137 It appears that this type of pottery is not equally distributed among the coastal centres in Cyprus and it may have been restricted to a certain extent to specific social groups.

At Kalavasos-Ayios Dhimitrios (site no. 114) three tombs have produced Mycenaean pictorial kraters.138 These graves were situated among the ashlar buildings and had rich inventories, on the basis of which they have been interpreted as élite tombs. Other tombs in the vicinity did not produce Mycenaean pictorial vessels, nor did graves elsewhere at the site.139 A few Mycenaean bowls with pictorial decoration were among the vessels from the pit in room A173,140 while fragments of a Mycenaean pictorial krater were discovered in Building XIV and during the survey of the site.141 In addition, a bowl with bull protomes was found in a tomb at nearby Kalavasos-Mangia (site no. 115).142 At Kalavasos-Ayios Dhimitrios, the evidence for restricted access by the élite to Mycenaean pictorial pottery is much stronger than for Enkomi, or any of the other coastal sites. Such a marked pattern is probably related to the restricted distribution of Mycenaean dinner vessels at Kalavasos.

Mycenaean pictorial pottery has also been found at Athienou-Bamboulari tis Koukouninas and Apliki-Karamallos, albeit in very small numbers. At both sites, however, the Mycenaean pictorial repertoire consists of animals decorating dinner vessels such as a jug and a shallow bowl; more elaborate vessels with a more complex iconography, such as chariot kraters, have not been found at these sites. At the majority of sites which have produced smaller amounts of Mycenaean pottery, vessels ety — e.g. those people who could not afford real valuable objects such as metal vases and for whom the nearest they ever got to owning a chariot would be a picture of it painted on a pot.

130 Karageorghis 1974, 17-33, 43-56, 67.

131 Karageorghis 1981.

132 Karageorghis 1976, 72-76, 78-86.

133 Astrom 1986a, 64.

134 See, for example, Frizell 1977, 53 Fig. 39; Hult 1981, 36; Obrink 1979, 86 Fig. 236. Also, see Astrom 1986a, 64.

135 Johnson 1980, 15-17, 22-30, 32-34; Manning & Monks 1998, 334, 327, 344, 346.

136 Benson 1972, 112-115.

137 Maier 1984, 10. Only some fragments decorated with bulls in the 'Rude' or 'Pastoral style' have been found.

138 South & Russell 1993, 306; South 1997, 163-171.

139 Russell 1989; South 1997, 163-171.

140 South 1988, 223.

141 South, Russell & Keswani 1989, 142; South 1997, 158.

142 South 1987, 84.

with pictorial decoration are absent.143 At Pyla-Kokkinokremos (site no. 58) a LH IIIB pictorial ring-based krater was found on the floor of a courtyard in a habitation structure.144 Pictorial amphoroid kraters, as well as similar vessels with patterned decoration, were found in a tomb at nearby Pyla-Verghi (site no. 61).145 In the hinterland of Larnaca, pictorial pottery has been reported from tombs at Arpera Chiflik (site no. 68) and Klavdhia (site no. 67).146 At Myrtou-Stephania (site no. 100) a pictorial krater was also found in a tomb.147 Among the settlement finds at Myrtou-Pigadhes (site no. 99) a fragment has been identified with the legs of a bull.148 Reports of isolated Mycenaean pictorial vessels have also come from sites such as Galinoporni (site no. 38) and Psilatos-Moutti (site 52).149 From the overview given here, it is clear that only very small quantities of Mycenaean pictorial pottery occur at secondary and tertiary sites in Cyprus. Obviously, the regional distribution of this type of pottery was restricted.

The evidence from Kalavasos-Ayios Dhimitrios indicates that Mycenaean pictorial pottery was used in élite cultural practices. The concentrations of Mycenaean pictorial kraters in tombs at Enkomi indicate that these vessels served distinctive roles in the funerary practices of specific social groups in the town. Possibly, these concentrations represent strategies by specific groups of people in the continuous social competition in the town. The restricted regional distribution of Mycenaean pictorial pottery is surely related to the active role of this type of pottery in Cypriot social strategies.

At Enkomi and Athienou Aegean coarse ware vessels have been discovered, in all cases large stirrup jars (FS 164). These jars, which are distributed widely within the Aegean and beyond, have been interpreted as transport jars, most probably containing oil.150 The presence of such vessels in tombs and at a sanctuary shows that these vessels could be endowed with a symbolical meaning beyond their primary function. It should be noted, however, that only few people at Enkomi included such stirrup jars in their funerary rituals, which may indicate that the symbolic significance for these pots was restricted to a small group of people.

A large number of Aegean coarse ware stirrup jars have been published from Kourion-Bamboula (site no. 122).151 Most of these are represented by small fragments only, but two vessels could be almost completely reconstructed. Both these vessels, as well as most fragments were found in settlement levels; at least one similar vessel came from a tomb. Aegean coarse ware stirrup jars were included in the inventories of tomb 4/5 and tomb 9 at Kition (site no. 63);152 in addition, a few fragments of similar vessels have been reported from settlement levels in areas I and II.153 At Hala Sultan Tekke (site no. 65) a Mycenaean coarse ware stirrup jar has also been reported from a tomb.154 At Kouklia (site no. 126) two large fragments of similar stirrup jars have been identified from the cemetery near the locality of

143 According to Crouwel (1991, 51), some twenty sites in total in Cyprus have produced this type of pottery. We should never forget that many museums possess Mycenaean pictorial vessels, many probably from Cyprus, which do not have a known provenance.

144 Karageorghis 1982b, 78.

145 Dikaios 1971, 913-925, plates 231-235.

147 Hennessy 1963, 2.

148 Catling 1957, 42.

149 Crouwel 1991 47-48.

150 For the provenance and distribution of coarse ware stirrup jars, see Haskell 1990; Day & Haskell 1995.

151 Benson (1972,117-118) mentions twenty six Aegean coarse ware stirrup jars (FS 164). See also Astrom 1972b, 335-336.

152 Karageorghis 1974, 27, 51.

153 See, for example, Karageorghis 1985a, 16 (area I), 132 (area II).

155 Catling & Karageorghis 1960, 121.

Mantissa,155 while other stirrup jars were discovered in settlement levels.156 It is clear that Aegean coarse ware stirrup jars have been found in the majority of the coastal centres, even though these centres differ greatly in the absolute numbers of these jars. The practice to put this type of jar in tombs does not appear to have been common at any of the coastal sites, even though everywhere some people did so.

The presence of Aegean coarse ware stirrup jars is not limited to large coastal centres. In addition to the two jars at Athienou, such vessels have also been found at a number of other sites in Cyprus -on the coast and in the interior.157 Only in a few cases have these vessels been found in tombs. This was the case in Tomb 2 at Myrtou-Stephania (site no. 100)158 and in a tomb at Lapithos-Ayia Anastasia (site no. 97).159 The presence of small numbers of Aegean coarse ware jars at sites all over the island is indicative of the phenomenon observed above that a relatively wide repertoire of Aegean vessels was involved in regional exchange networks. The limited deposition of coarse ware stirrup jars in tombs in the interior of Cyprus corresponds to the pattern established for the urban coastal centres.

The final class of Mycenaean pottery to be considered consists of specialised ritual shapes such as rhyta, composite vessels and figurines. At Enkomi, Mycenaean rhyta were not restricted to specific groups of people or activities.There is evidence, however, that rhyta and figurines had cultic connotations. At Kition (site no. 63), a Mycenaean conical rhyton was found on floor IV in temple II.160 A concentration of Psi-type female figurines was found in a pit below floor IIIA in temenos A at the same site; the floor itself produced two additional figurines.161 Considering the cultic nature of area II at Kition, it is logical to assume that these ritual objects were used in ceremonies at the sanctuary. In tombs at Hala Sultan Tekke (site no. 65), individual Mycenaean rhyta and figurines have been discovered,162 while two conical rhyta occurred in levelling strata in area 22 at this site.163 Figurines and rhyta, as well as a ring kernos have also been found in the tombs at Maroni (site no. 116).164 From a tomb at Kourion (site no. 122), one conical rhyton has been reported.165 This overview shows that various primary coastal centres are similar to Enkomi with regard to the presence of these specialised Mycenaean ceramic items. However, it should also be noted that Mycenaean figurines or ritual vessels have not been reported from other important sites such as Kalavasos-Ayios Dhimitrios (site no. 114) and Kouklia-Palaepaphos (site no. 126).

A few sites with relatively small numbers of Mycenaean pottery have also produced specialised shapes such as figurines or rhyta. At Myrtou-Pigadhes (site no. 99), one Mycenaean conical rhyton and a hedgehog rhyton were found when villagers dug a well near the site.166 In addition, another Myce-

156 Maier & Karageorghis 1984, 71; Maier & Von Wartburg 1985, 149.

157 Aström (1972b, 335-336) reports such jars from Nitovikla-Korovia (site no. 39), Akanthou-Moulos (site no. 50), Kalopsidha (site no. 57), Pyla- Kokkinokremos (site no. 58), Idalion (site no . 72), Dhenia- Kafkalla (site no. 95), Lapithos-Ayia Anastasia (site no. 97), Myrtou-Stephania (site no. 100).

159 Pieridou 1966, 9: 98a-c.

160 Karageorghis 1985a, 89: no. 3442.

161 Karageorghis 1985a, 98-99, 105, 170: nos. 3213, 3219,

3222, 3225, 3251 and 3323.

162 For a possible ring-rhyton and a zoomorphic rhyton, see see Walters 1912, 129: no. C679; Bailey 1976, 2526; Obrink 1983, 25: no. 51. For Mycenaean figurines at Hala Sultan Tekke, see Astrom 1983, 147-153; L. Astrom 1983, 69: no. N2000.

163 Niklasson-Sonnerby 1989, 78 Fig. 143 (no. F6517), 79 Fig. 147 (F6521).

164 Johnson 1980, 24: no. 141, 25: no. 149, 27: no. 173

165 Astrom 1972b, 354: no. 199d.

166 Taylor 1957, 1.

naean conical rhyton was found on a floor in the building east of the ashlar altar.167 It is tempting to think that this rhyton was used in rituals performed at the sanctuary. A conical rhyton has been reported from Sinda (site no. 54), in addition to a female figurine.168 L. Astrom mentions a female figurine from the site of Alambra (site no. 71).169 Recently, a Mycenaean female figurine has also been discovered at Idalion (site no. 72).170

It is clear that Mycenaean specialised ceramic objects with possible ritual connotations were scarce at Cyprus. The unequal distribution of these objects among sites at the coast indicates that preferences existed for specific parts of the Mycenaean ceramic repertoire. It is clear that the Mycenaean rhyta and figurines were used in local cult rituals in a number of places on the island. In this respect, they are in agreement with the evidence from Athienou, where Mycenaean juglets have been deposited in a votive pit together with Cypriot wares.

The appreciation of the various categories of Aegean vessels in Cyprus is not uniform through time and space. The earliest Aegean vessels were available to a very small group of people who can be associated with wealth and international contacts and who lived in the emerging coastal centres. Gradually, however, Aegean vessels became available to larger parts of the Cypriot population and they became incorporated in regional distribution systems. Apparently, some vessels could circulate for a long time in such systems. There is evidence that Mycenaean dinner vessels were highly appreciated initially by élite groups in particular, probably because they could be used in ceremonial ses-sions.171 However, at sites where different groups were in competition, the exclusivity of Aegean drinking vessels seems to have eroded during LC IIC. Nevertheless, specific groups in Cypriot society continued to distinguish themselves by including substantial numbers of pictorial kraters in their tombs.

The symbolic meaning of Mycenaean pots found its origin in specific cultural practices of emerging urban élites. As such, these pots were symbols in the acquisition and legitimisation of power on the part of these groups.172 The deposition of Aegean coarse ware transport jars in tombs by a few people all over the island shows that Mycenaean pottery could be endowed with meanings beyond the purely functional. The inclusion of small numbers of Mycenaean rhyta and figurines in Cypriot cultic rites at various sites throughout Cyprus suggests that religious aspects also played a role in the cultural significance of Mycenaean pottery. Obviously, a variety of different meanings relating to Cypriot social reality and cultural practices could be imposed on the imported ceramic vessels and figurines.

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