Bowls

The kiln pottery includes convex-sided, conical, and flaring bowls or kalathoi. Convex-sided and conical bowls are rare. Since there is no reason to believe that these bowl types would have been especially liable to break during firing, it appears that this bias in shape reflects the preference for types produced in the Kommos kiln, or at least in its last period of use (cf. below, pp. 98-100).

Conspicuously absent from the kiln and the dump are restorable examples of convex-sided bowls in fine fabrics. This suggests that such bowls were not produced in this kiln, or at least not in its last stage of use. A new shape is a rare convex-sided bowl variety with medium-coarse fabric, a wide, everted rim, and a constricted, offset, splaying base. An estimated 7 examples have been assigned to it. They were made in two parts joined at the waist. No convincing parallels for this variety have been found elsewhere at Kommos, nor have they been published from other Cretan sites.97 One restored example (26) is decorated with hooked retorted spirals similar to those found on type V conical cups (19). Such hooked spirals appear to be unique to Kommos as well (see above, p. 68). Some distinctions can be made between 27 and the other six convex-sided bowls. Whereas those six bowls are comparable in size and decoration, three being dark monochrome coated in and out, and three carrying white-painted, thick retorted

  1. For the development of milk jugs at Phaistos until phase III, see Levi and Carinci 1988, pp. 217-220; Levi 1976, pl. 214:a-i. They are closely paralleled at Kommos by some MM IIB and MM III examples identified as "large semiglobular cups" by Betancourt (Kommos II, p. 108, no. 596; p. 157, nos. 1245, 1246; and p. 184, no. 1879).
  2. For examples from Phaistos, see Levi and Carinci 1988, p. 215, pl. 91:d-f. For a Kommos example, see Kommos II, p. 114, no. 681. A second example

(C 10082) comes from a MM III or early LM IA context in Room 23 of Building T. Fragments of a milk jug also have been found in a LM IA

deposit at Aghia Triada (La Rosa 1986, fig. 92:h). Even though it is roughly contemporary with the Kommian side-spouted cups, its shape is more closed, resembling that of MM IIB-III milk jugs. A mature LM IA coarse side-spouted cup from Acropolis Deposit F at Knossos is quite different in shape and fabric (Catling, Catling, and Smyth 1979, p. 51, fig. 36: V.253). A LM IB cup from Kannia (Levi 1959, fig. 28:b) resembles the kiln dump examples more closely.

97. A medium-coarse, light-on-dark patterned basin fragment with a wide, everted rim has been found in a MM III context on the Central Hillside at Kommos (Kommos II, pl. 106, fig. 26: no. 547). However, its rim diameter (ca. 0.35-0.40 m) is much larger than that of the largest globular bowl (27) of the kiln dump, and the rim projects on the interior of the body, unlike the rims of the kiln dump bowls 26 and 27. Its lower body is lost. The splaying base profiles of the kiln dump bowls are paralleled on a bridge-spouted jar base from Kommos, dated by Betancourt to MM III (Kommos II, p. 177, pl. 87: no. 1736), and by some phase III pitharakia and a four-handled jar from Phaistos (Levi and Carinci 1988, pls. 73:b, c, 74:i), but the examples from the dump have significantly wider diameters.

spirals on the exterior, bowl 27 stands out by its exceptionally large size, its body decoration of broad white bands, and its barred rim. Since it is lacking its body immediately below the point of maximum diameter, we do not know whether it had decoration in addition to the bands on its upper body. Furthermore, 27 is the only example of this type that is certain to have had handles. Unusual are the circular perforations in the rim of 26, and in the upper body of an uninventoried monochrome bowl. Their purpose is uncertain. It is possible that they served for the insertion of thong handles, but they also may have facilitated the tying of a lid.98

Only 5 examples of medium-coarse conical bowls have been found in the kiln and dump. They form a homogeneous variety with similar body shapes, sloping rims, and unpainted surfaces. Since these bowls include a quite fresh example from within the kiln (28), they may be considered as kiln products, in spite of their low numbers. They resemble unpainted kalathoi (30) but surpass them in size, and in addition are furnished with lugs. Conical bowls or basins of comparable size have been found at other sites, but none are particularly close comparanda to the kiln dump ex-

amples.99

With at least 87 examples, kalathoi represent the most abundant shape in the dump after conical cups and bridge-spouted jars (Table 4). Those with medium-coarse fabrics outnumber by far the fine examples. An estimated 17 kalathoi have fine fabrics (29). They tend to have rather straight to slightly concave profiles and slender proportions. Their rims are either rounded, flattened, or sloping. Seven are unpainted, including two found inside the kiln. Two are monochrome coated, and one has a monochrome interior and an exterior rim band. The other kalathoi are decorated in and out with a light-on-dark painted reed pattern (29). Dark coats usually have been fired brown or red, rarely black. Reed patterns do not occur on any other shape from the kiln or dump, and may have been chosen to emphasize the steep contours of the fine kalathoi.100 The leaves are arranged in pairs without centerline, an arrangement that will be the rule among dark-on-light patterned foliate sprays and bands on LM IA-II

  1. The possibility of thong handles was suggested to me by Rutter. The practice of tying lids is discussed by Miriam Tadmor for Chalcolithic and Early Bronze Age storage and transport vessels from Israel (Tadmor 1992, p. 149). Bowls from these periods had single holes, indicating that their lids were attached on only one side, allowing them to be lifted during eating or drinking. I thank G. A. London for bringing this reference to my attention.
  2. Cf. a phase II example from Phaistos (Levi and Carinci 1988, pl. 13:n), a MM IIIB/LM IA example from the Minoan Unexplored Mansion (Popham 1984, pls. 128:i, 145:3), and a small, fragmentary basin from the

House of the Alabaster Threshold at Aghia Triada (D'Agata 1989, p. 94, pl. XXII:d). The latter closely resembles the conical bowls from the dump in body and rim shape, but it has handles instead of lugs, and it is light-on-dark pattern-decorated instead of being unpainted.

100. Similar reed patterns are characteristic of the lower bodies of dark-on-light piriform jugs and occasionally a dark-on-light kalathos in LM IB at Kommos, e.g., C 207, C 2752, C 3321 (Kommos III, nos. 43, 265, 325; the last example is identified by Watrous as a cup, but is rather a kalathos).

vases from Kommos, and on LM IA and LM IB vases from other Mesara sites.101 The fine kalathoi from the kiln dump show that this decorative tradition goes back in Kommos at least to the light-on-dark patterned tradition of LM IA.102

The large majority of kalathoi from the kiln and dump have medium-coarse fabrics. At least 70 are represented, of which 4 come from within the kiln and 2 are wasters. Like the conical bowls they are highly standardized in shape. Unpainted kalathoi have body profiles and rims similar to those of the fine kalathoi. Decorated examples, however, have splaying bases, waisted lower bodies, markedly flaring upper bodies, and broadly spreading, often overhanging rims.103 Somewhat more than half of the kalathoi are unpainted (30), including two from inside the kiln. Sixteen are coated dark monochrome, as a rule on both surfaces (31). The remaining sixteen are pattern-decorated, usually with white-painted motifs on the interior and with either a monochrome or dark-dipped exterior (32, 33); a few are merely dark-dipped or splattered in and out.

The most common white-painted motifs are groups of vertical arcs that either are restricted to the upper body (33) or extend over the entire interior surface (32). Such arc patterns are not found on any other vessel shape from the kiln or dump.The groups of short arcs follow in the tradition of MM III basins and fruitstands from Kommos and Phaistos.104 Both the short and the long arc motifs (32) curve clockwise, emphasizing the torsional stresses exerted on the body as it was thrown on the counterclockwise-turning wheel (see below). The orientation of the painted arcs closely resembles that of the diagonal compression ridges found on the lower bodies of kalathoi 31, 32, and 33. Compression ridges occur when

101. Cf. dark-on-light patterned bowl 62, dating to LM IA (below, p. 96); a LM IA teacup from Phaistos

(Levi 1976, p. 375, fig. 584); a LM IA kalathos and globular rhyton from Aghia Triada (La Rosa 1984, fig. 284;

1986, fig. 36:d, f); LM IA closed vases and a teacup from Seli (Cucuzza 1993, pls. 23, 40b); LM IB and LM II teacups, bowls, and jugs from Kommos (Kommos III, pp. 5-6, 15, 21, 23, 103, nos. 83, 86, 264, 265, 266, 267, 325, 352, 392, 1780, 1783); a LM IB cup-rhyton and sherds from Phaistos (Pernier and Banti 1951, figs. 174, 229:f-i, 262-263); LM IB amphoroid jars, amphora, table, lid, and teacup from Chalara (Levi 1967-1968, figs. 70:b, 71:d-g, i, 74:a, 77:c, d, 79:a); a LM IB footed pyxis, clay disc, and pithos from Aghia Triada (Halbherr,

Stefani, and Banti 1977, figs. 11, 13:b, 93); a LM IB bridge-spouted jar and pithoid jars from Kannia (Levi 1959, fig. 30:a-c); and LM IB teacups from

Seli (Cucuzza 1993, pls. 4, 14). For a discussion of foliate motifs without central stalks in LM IA-B Aghia Triada and Phaistos, see Pernier and Banti 1951, pp. 501-503, 528, fig. 287:3.

  1. A similarly decorated kalathos from Kommos, published by Betan-court (Kommos II, p. 168, pl. 99:
  2. 1968), and dated by him to early LM IA, comes from a mixed MM III-LM IA context on the Southern Hilltop. A tall tumbler from Phaistos is decorated with similar reed motifs painted white on a dilute, red-brown ground (Pernier 1935, p. 379, fig. 227:b). It was found out of context.
  3. A kalathos with pronounced concave walls and an overhanging rim similar to that of 31 already occurs in phase III at Phaistos (Levi and Carinci 1988, pl. 111:a). A similar example comes from a final LM IA context at Seli (Cucuzza 1993, pls. 7 and 19: XX-2). The rims of kalathoi 32 and

33 of the kiln dump have an even wider overhang. At Knossos, concave-flaring bowls exhibiting similarities to the Mesara examples have been found in the Stratigraphical Museum Extension site (Warren 1991, p. 323, pl. 78:D), dated to the MM IIIB/LM IA transition, as well as in the Magazine of the Lily Vases (PM I, fig. 421:8) and in the East-West Stairs deposit, dating to mature LM IA (Warren and Hankey 1989: p. 73; Popham 1977, pp. 194195, pl. 31:j). The kalathos from the East-West Stairs deposit is perforated (PM III, fig. 186:A). The plain kalathos 30 is paralleled in overall shape, but not in rim profile, by an unpainted early LM IA vessel from Kommos (Kommos II, fig. 65: no. 1874).

104. For phase III examples from Phaistos, see Levi and Carinci 1988, pp. 22-23; Levi 1976, p. 376, fig. 586:i, pl. 185:d, f, i. Cf. a MM III rim fragment from Kommos illustrated by Be-tancourt (Kommos II, fig. 35: no. 747).

strong stresses are exerted on the clay body as it is being thrown on the wheel.105 They are found on many vases from the kiln and dump, but are especially pronounced where the body makes a tight curve, such as on the lower bodies of concave-flaring kalathoi, at the shoulders and necks of narrow-necked jugs (46, 47), inside the spouts of piriform rhyta (51), and inside the hollow stems of fine pedestaled vases (59: Fig. 41). Compression ridges are more pronounced on interior than on exterior surfaces. It is possible that curving arc patterns were preferred over other designs for medium-coarse kalathoi because they emphasize the torsion of the body. The fact that out of all the vessel shapes prone to having compression ridges on their interior surfaces, only kalathoi carry interior decoration, may also explain why such patterns do not appear on any other shapes.106

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