Mycenaean repertoire

From the preceding chapters it has become clear that Ugarit has yielded a wider repertoire of Mycenaean pottery than Hazor and Deir 'Alla. The large quantity of Mycenaean vessels at Ugarit is paralleled only at other coastal cities. From Tell Abu Hawam (site no. 175) some 700 Mycenaean finds have been reported.1 Excavations in a very limited area at Sarepta (site no. 162) produced some 130 Mycenaean finds,2 while a nearby tomb had earlier yielded another 67 Mycenaean vessels. The variety of Mycenaean vessel types at Ugarit is paralleled only at Tell Abu Hawam, where a similar range of storage and dinner vessels have been found, as well as rhyta and Mycenaean figurines.3 Another similarity between these two sites is the predominance of dinner vessels.4 Ashdod (site no. 222), also a coastal settlement, is the only other site in the Levant with a majority of Mycenaean dinner vessels.5

Balensi 1980, 423, 490. AH derive from levels V and IV. In addition, thirty-seven Minoan pieces have been reported from this site, see Balensi 1980, 499-510. Koehl 1985, 37-43; Anderson 1988, 267-274; Baramki 1958, 129-142. Soundings X and Y together comprise less than 700 sq.m., see Khalifeh 1988, 356 Plate 2. Balensi 1980, 422-498. Among the Mycenaean storage vessels, all groups from Table I are represented at Tell Abu Hawam. Among dinner vessels narrow-necked jugs, spouted cups and bowls are the only vessel groups absent. Rhyta have been found in conical and zoomor-phic shape, while Tell Abu Hawam and Ugarit are the only sites in the Levant where ring-kernoi have been found; see Leonard 1994, 89. In comparison with

Ugarit, Mycenaean figurines are infrequent at Tell Abu Hawam: only eleven have been reported, among which are eight Psi-type female figurines and three bovines.

Balensi 1980, 498. As at Ugarit, the predominance of dinner vessels is due entirely to the large number of LH IIIB vessels of this type.

Leonard 1994, 203; Dothan & Porath 1996, 31-36, 48, 58. The figures provided by Leonard show that fragments from which the vessel type cannot be determined (23) constitute more than a third of the total (60) of Mycenaean finds at Ashdod, which argues for some caution in this respect.

At all other sites storage vessels are more frequent.6 This is also the case at Sarepta, which has yielded a great quantity of stirrup jars in particular.7 A conical rhyton, a wide range of cups and bowls, as well as female, bovine and chariot figurines testify to the varied character of the Mycenaean repertoire at Sarepta.

It appears that the repertoire of Mycenaean vessels and figurines is generally larger and more varied at coastal centres than at inland sites. Such a distribution pattern has been explained by suggesting a model of the circulation of Mycenaean pottery involving 'ports of trade'.8 In this model, Mycenaean pottery arrived in the coastal towns, where a first choice was made of items which were to remain there. A more limited repertoire was then distributed to secondary centres, where a similar process took place. The repeated sequence of choice and further distribution in such a model would result in a diminishing of quantities and a narrowing of vessel types in the repertoire of Mycenaean pottery the further down the line of exchanges a site was incorporated in the system.

This model of 'ports of trade' would explain the large quantities and wide variety of Mycenaean pottery at Ugarit and Tell Abu Hawam. However, there are a number of situations relatively far away from the coast where a wide variety of Mycenaean vessels has also been found. Such is the case at the Amman airport site (site no. 194), where finds included a LH II piriform jar, as well as a variety of dinner and storage vessels from the LH III period.9 The Late Bronze Age temple at Kamid el-Loz (site no. 168) produced thirteen specimens of Mycenaean pottery, among which were storage and dinner vessels, zoomorphic and conical rhyta, along with a female figurine.10 Two Mycenaean conical rhyta, a zoomorphic rhyton, as well as a score of dinner vessels and figurines were found in a building associated with ritual activities at Tell Sera' (site no. 237).11 At Hazor, the three graves from the Late Bronze Age yielded a more varied Mycenaean repertoire than that found in the settlement levels. A similar situation may be seen at Tell Dan (site no. 170), where the 'Mycenaean tomb' produced a rich collection of Mycenaean dinner and storage vessels.12

These examples indicate that sites situated far from the coast could have access to a wide range of Mycenaean vessels and figurines. The differences in the Mycenaean ceramic repertoires between large coastal cities such as Ugarit and Tell Abu Hawam on the one hand and inland sites such as Hazor on the other cannot solely be attributed to factors of availability. At Deir 'Alla, Mycenaean stirrup jars and flasks were found in contexts which attest to a high regard for these vessels. The same pottery types are quite common at Ugarit and Hazor, where they predominate in average domestic contexts. This suggests that the variability in the Mycenaean repertoire at Levantine sites is related to differences in the use and appreciation of this material. This may also be inferred from the fact that varied deposits of Mycenaean pottery were found in temples at Tell Sera', Kamid el-Loz and the Amman airport site, and in tombs at Hazor and Tell Dan. Each of these contexts represent situations of a high symbolical content.

A high regard for specific Mycenaean vessel types may, of course, be related to their availability, which is determined by the distribution of these types according to the 'port of trade' model. However, in many societies the flow of specific goods is closely related to existing power structures,

6 Figures taken from Leonard 1994, 201-211.

7 Koehl (1985, 37-43) lists more than fifty stirrup jars.

8 Renfrew 1972, 465-471; Gilmour 1992, 118-120.

9 Hankey 1974.

10 Hachmann 1980, 43, 84, 88, Tafels 5, 24-27; 1982, 33,

Oren & Netzer 1974, 265.

Biran 1994a, 111-116. The Mycenaean finds from settlement levels at Tell Dan have not been fully published, because of which it is impossible to compare them with the funerary finds.

because the effectiveness of specific material goods to serve in consumptive strategies which reproduce the identity of consumers is determined by dominant groups in society.13 The subject of access to a wide range of Mycenaean vessel types is, therefore, itself connected to the use and appreciation of these vessels in the places where they were acquired.

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