The mycenaean pottery

From numerous publications about the two sites, I have been able to isolate a total of 616 Aegean ceramic finds: 168 from Minet el-Beida, 443 from Ras Shamra, while 5 sherds may come from either of

10 Courtois 1979a, 1283-1287; Saade 1995

11 Courtois 1979a, 1201; Salles 1995; Marchegay 1999.

12 The texts from Ugarit have been discussed in a wide array of publications. For a recent index giving access to most of these, see Yon 1997a, 189-190

13 See, for example, Liverani 1979; Yon 1992; 1997a, 2535.

14 Liverani 1979, 1333-1341.

15 Callot 1994, 200-201.

16 Courtois 1979a, 1283-1284

17 Callot 1986, 744-746; 1994, 199-201.

18 These figures vary somewhat from those by Leonard 1994, who lists 180 Mycenaean finds from Minet elBeida and 451 from Ras Shamra. This difference is caused to an extent by the fact that Leonard has included related pottery that is not produced in Greece, them.18 This pottery is listed in Catalogue II. I have not been able to include the many vases and fragments that have been identified in the storerooms of the Louvre in Paris and which were published shortly before this book went to press.19 However, I have compared my analyses with those of Yon, Karageorghis and Hirschfeld and I have incorporated the main conclusions reached in their very important book.

Even though very few chemical analyses have been conducted on Mycenaean pottery from the two sites, most of the ceramics included in the catalogue seem to have been produced on the Greek mainland. In 1945, the fabrics of an unknown number of samples from Ras Shamra were investigated by petrology and compared with pottery from Cyprus and the Greek mainland; it was determined that the Ugarit vessels resembled the sherds found in Greece more than the Cypriot examples.20 Five pictorial specimens from Minet el-Beida and one from Ras Shamra were later analysed by spectography and appeared to have been produced in the Argolid.21 On stylistic grounds, Courtois distinguished a group of amphoroid kraters that may have originated in the south-eastern Aegean.22 Pottery deriving from Crete has also been included in the catalogue: nine vessels can certainly be classified as Late Minoan,23 while eleven vases may derive from that island.24 The catalogue only includes pottery that was produced in the Aegean. Vessels of Mycenaean inspiration which were certainly produced on Cyprus, such as those in the 'Rude' or 'Pastoral' style, have been excluded from the catalogue. However, in a few cases it is unclear whether the vessels were produced in the Aegean or in Cyprus; these specimens have been included here.25 Seven vessels have been included of which it is uncertain whether they are imported or locally made.26 In addition to the 616 imported pots and figurines, I have identified thirty-four vessels, which, by their descriptions, are most likely to constitute Syrian such as Cypriot 'Rude' or 'Pastoral' style pottery and local imitations. In some cases, Leonard has given separate catalogue entries to fragments which belong to the same pot; these are listed here under one number. Some finds included here, were not listed by Leonard

19 Hirschfeld 2000a; 2000b; Karageorghis 2000; Yon 2000.

20 Immerwahr 1945, 555: note 77.

21 Anson 1980, 117, 121, Fig. 2. The analysed sherds are cat. nos. 17, 53, 80, 125, 135, 472; the specimen with cat. no. 191, which was found either at Ras Shamra or in the harbour town, likewise turned out to derive from the Argolid.

22 Courtois 1973, 149-164. Vessels of this type are those with cat. no. 77, 175, 314, 315, 371, 372, 374, 375 and 402.

23 Cat. nos. 156, 408, 462, 474, 475, 476, 479, 521, 534.

24 Cat. nos. 129, 140, 161, 171, 201, 290, 378, 445, 477, 478, 502 are here referred to as Helladic, but might rather be Minoan.

25 Cat. nos. 42, 064, 103 and 518. Shallow bowls with horizontal handles (FS 295-296) were produced on Cyprus at the end of LCII as well; see Kling 1998;

1991; Sherratt 1980, 196-197; 1991. All such vessels have been included in the catalogue.

26 Cat. nos. 52, 172, 177, 267, 286, 438, 459. It has been suggested by E.B. Miller that some of the zoomorphic rhyta at Ugarit may have been made in the town itself, especially those with cat. nos. 136-138, which are all of the animal-head type. According to Miller, these vases deviate from Aegean examples in the carelessness of the decoration and the heavy proportions with too prominent rims. However, one should also note that these vessels are decorated with fill ornaments which are purely Mycenaean, notably parallel chevrons (FM 58) and lozenges (FM 73). Pending technical analysis of the clays of the zoomorphic vessels, I consider them Mycenaean imports.

27 This list is not complete; it is entirely possible that more such vessels have been found in Minet el-Beida and Ras Shamra; see, for example, the list provided by Kara-georghis (2000, 64-65). At least some Mycenaean derivations appear to have been produced at Ugarit itself, see Monchambert 1983, 27-29. Without chemical analysis, however, it is impossible to distinguish between vessels produced locally and elsewhere outside the Aegean.

products of Aegean-type vessels. These are separately listed in the third part of Catalogue II and are not included in the spatial analysis.27

It is clear that the ceramics which are listed in Catalogue II do not represent all the Mycenaean pottery which has been found at the sites.28 Two corpora céramique have been published that cover the campaigns from 1929 to1938 and 1959 to 1968, respectively.29 We can assume that most of the pottery found during these excavations and recognised as Mycenaean is included among our data. However, it is also certain that imported Aegean wares have been left out of these publications, especially in the case of the first corpus céramique.30 Material found during twenty campaigns has only been published in preliminary reports and in a variety of different places. The possibility that Mycenaean finds have been thrown away cannot be excluded, especially for the earlier campaigns. In Minet el-Beida, for example, the archaeologists working at the site in the 1930s thought for a long time that they were excavating a necropolis and realised only much later that they had actually discovered an urban area.31 Apart from the probable loss of Mycenaean pottery, the methodology of the earlier campaigns has had severe consequences for the amount of contextual information. In particular the lack of attention during the campaigns before the 1970s to undecorated pottery of local manufacture prevents comparisons between the deposition of imported and local pottery.32 Fortunately, the campaigns from 1978 to 1984 have been extensively published and only for these campaigns can we can consider the data-set to be more or less complete.33

Each archaeological expedition to Ras Shamra focused - naturally enough - on specific areas. The fact that the material of many of these campaigns has not been fully published means that there is unequal data for the different parts of the site. Similarly, the quality of the data varies spatially, as certain areas have been excavated more recently than others. All this prohibits a purely statistical approach to study the on-site distribution of Mycenaean pottery at Ras Shamra and Minet el-Beida. Instead, I will take into account only very marked quantitative differences between excavated areas. These differences need to be checked with regard to the extent to which they can be related to archaeological phenomena, rather than to insufficient data. Fortunately, the recently excavated and published Centre Ville can, in some cases, serve to compensate for the loss of data bearing on other areas.

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