Rhyta

This shape is relatively rare in the dump, being represented by about 20 globular specimens (50) and 3 piriform ones (51). During this preliminary study no complete profile was restored. However, the mended parts are quite large and many are in a fresh condition, so that it seems likely that they are kiln products. It is possible that occasionally conical rhyta also were fired in this kiln.126 Rhyta shaped like animals, animal heads, cups, or alabastra have not been identified among the kiln or dump debris.127 All

  1. No comprehensive study has yet been done on the combination of different fabric textures in Mesara vases, but various instances of this practice have been noted, such as the presence of coarser handles on fine EM IIA jugs from Aghia Kyriaki (Wilson and Day 1994, p. 36) and of coarser appliqué features on EM and MM pottery from the Mesara (Day and Wilson 1998, p. 355). In the Protopalatial period, fine clay was used for barbotine plastic ornaments on medium-coarse vases (Betancourt 1985, pp. 83-85; cf. Levi and Carinci 1988, pp. 17-20; PM IV, pp. 120-130, pl. XXIX), and large medium-coarse bowls covered with a thick, fine buff slip on the interior are fairly common at Kommos. One such bowl has been published by Betancourt (Kommos II, no. 177), and many occur in newly excavated, unpublished Protopalatial fills at the site. In the Neopalatial period the handles of fine and medium-coarse closed vases occasionally are coarser than their bodies. This practice has been observed by the present author on two MM III bridge-spouted jars (Kommos II, nos. 599, 644) as well as on MM III oval-mouthed amphoras from Kommos; it also has been noted occasionally on LM IA and LM IB vases from Kommos (Kommos II, no. 829; unpublished jugs C 9641 and C 9329 from House X as well as jug C 3358 from Building T). A most striking example is the dark-on-light patterned bridge-spouted jar 65 associated with the kiln dump, which has a fine body and a coarse handle. Levi and Carinci mention coarser handles on small bridge-spouted jars from phase III at Phaistos (Levi and Carinci 1988, pp. 131-134), and Banti reports that a coarser handle texture is common in LM IB at that site (Pernier and Banti 1951, p. 495). Collar-necked jugs in the kiln dump sometimes have spouts made of fabrics coarser than the body (44).
  2. Large ewers with neck rings are rare in Kommos. For a MM III example, see Kommos II, fig. 29: no. 614. An early LM IA example from Building T (C 6652) and a ewer from the terrace north of Building P (C 7053) are unpublished. The latter example also has an interior coil; it was brought to my attention by Rutter. None of the large phase Ib ewers from Phaistos or of the medium-sized phase III ewers from Phaistos and Kamilari has a neck ring (Levi and Carinci 1988, pl. 37:a-e; Levi 1976, pls. 85:d, 194:b-e, g). Neck rings do occur on large ewers from MM III and LM IA deposits at Knossos (Catling, Catling, and Smyth 1979, fig. 24: V.152; PM I, figs. 404:f, 415:B, pl. VII:c; Warren 1991, fig. 5:C), in mature LM IA at Akrotiri (Thera III, pl. 50: 1-2), and in LM IB at Aghia Triada (Halbherr, Stefani, and Banti 1977, figs. 79, 163).
  3. A possible conical rhyton in a fine fabric decorated with the white-painted, thick retorted spirals on a washy red ground typical of the kiln pottery has been found in the fill of an early LM IIIA2 terrace north of Building P. It is likely to have been produced in the kiln. This example was brought to my attention by Rutter.
  4. For the development of various types of Minoan rhyta, see Koehl 1981, fig. 1. Globular, piriform, conical, and alabastron-shaped rhyta have been found in MM III and early LM IA contexts at Kommos (Kommos II, figs. 31: nos. 652-655, 32: no. 656, 61: no. 1772, 69: nos. 2011-2015; pls. 88: no. 1765, 89: no. 1779, 103: no. 2012), and globular rhyta occur in later LM IA and LM IB (see below, note 128). Globular, conical, alabastron-shaped, bull's head, and animal rhyta come from phase III contexts at Phaistos (Levi and Carinci 1988, pp. 141-146, fig. 257, pls. 63:b, c, e, f, 64:b, c, g; Pernier 1935, fig. 213; Pernier and Banti 1951, fig. 257). The only LM IA rhyton reported from elsewhere in the Mesara is a globular example from Aghia Triada (La Rosa 1984, fig. 284; 1986, fig. 36:f). A mature LM IA conical rhyton has been found at Seli di Kamilari, but Cucuzza convincingly argues that it was manufactured outside the Mesara, more specifically at Gournia (Cucuzza 1993, pp. 71-72, pls. 11a, 19d). Even though cup-rhyta occur in mature LM IA deposits at Knossos, in Acropolis Deposit F and in the palace (Catling, Catling, and Smith 1979, fig. 31: V.250, V.251; Popham 1977, fig. 1:E, F; contra Macdonald 1990, p. 87), the earliest examples reported from the Mesara date to LM IB (Pernier and Banti 1951, figs. 171, 174; Halbherr, Stefani, and Banti 1977, fig. 14). Apart from the globular and cup-rhyta listed above, piriform and conical examples also have been found in LM IB contexts in the Mesara (Pernier and Banti 1951, figs. 103:a, 104, 105; Halbherr, Stefani, and Banti 1977, figs. 19, 190).

piriform rhyta and nearly all globular ones have fine fabrics, two being medium-coarse. Light-on-dark patterned, thick retorted spirals occur on almost all examples (50, 51), except on 3 globular ones that are coated dark monochrome.

Some of the globular rhyta (50) presumably had narrow mouth openings with ledge rims, whereas others were wide-mouthed with short, everted rims. They resemble in shape MM III and LM IA examples found at the site, sharing their flattish bottom.128 It is peculiar that the spout opening of the restored globular rhyton from the dump (50) was nearly entirely blocked by a small lump of baked clay, which had been fired in place (Fig. 36). It is possible that the plugging was accidental. The fragmentary piri-form rhyta from the dump have narrower proportions than their predeces-sors.129 No rims have yet been attributed to these.

Oval-Mouthed Amphoras (52-53; Fig. 37)

A prominent shape in the kiln and dump is the oval-mouthed amphora. An estimated 70 examples are represented, including fragments of 3 or 4 inside the kiln and about 5 that have become wasters (e.g., Fig. 42). As many as one-half of the amphoras may be unpainted. About one-fourth carry large, simple plant motifs on either side of the body, executed in dark colors on a very pale slip (53). Another 10 have dark-painted splattered decoration (52), and 5 may simply be dark monochrome coated.

These amphoras closely resemble LM IA examples found in House X at Kommos (C 9463, C 9471), and also share similarities with Neopalatial examples from the Mesara, Knossos, and Akrotiri.130 The plant design of 53 is closely paralleled on amphoras from Aghia Triada, Akrotiri, and the

  1. For MM III and early LM IA examples, see Kommos II, figs. 32: no. 656; 69: nos. 2014, 2015. A later LM IA globular rhyton (C 9046) was found in House X and is unpublished. Watrous published a fragmentary globular rhyton dating to LM IB, but did not illustrate its profile (Kommos III, p. 20, pl. 8:
  2. 332). The two phase III examples from Phaistos are more baggy in shape (Levi and Carinci 1988, p. 145, pl. 63:b, c).
  3. Cf. Kommos II, figs. 31: no. 654; 69: no. 2013.
  4. MM III examples from Kom-mos are highly fragmentary (Kommos II, fig. 26: no. 756; pls. 44: no. 755, 73: no. 1383, 78: no. 1536). For LM I, only one amphora has been published, by Watrous, coming from a mixed LM I context (Kommos III, p. 9, pl. 4: no. 147). A second amphora from the same context is not local (Kommos III, p. 9, pl. 3: no. 148). For phase III amphoras from Phaistos, see Levi and Carinci 1988, pl. 21:d-g; Levi 1976, pls. 188:h, k, 189:a, c, 190:a, c. A dark-banded, possible amphoriskos fragment from Aghia Triada (La Rosa 1986, fig. 76:a) and two polychrome-on-dark patterned fragments from Seli (Cucuzza 1993, pls. 9: XXV-13, 38a: F-12) are dated to LM IA. An amphora with a dark-painted plant motif similar to that of 53 comes from the lowest level of the Complesso della Mazza di Breccia at Aghia Triada, dated to LM I (AR 1991, p. 67, fig. 58). A few dark-on-light patterned examples come from LM IB destruction contexts at Aghia Triada (Halbherr, Stefani, and Banti 1977, figs. 27, 166, 167), Chalara (Levi 1967-1968, fig. 74), and Kannia (Levi 1959, fig. 12). Securely dated MM III amphoras from Knossos are comparable in shape to those from the Kommos kiln and dump, but they do not include dark-on-light patterned examples (Catling, Catling, and Smyth 1979, figs. 20: V.58; 25: V.159; 26: V.153, V.158). Amphoras from a transitional MM IIIB/LM IA context at Knossos are either light-on-

dark patterned or ripple-decorated (Warren 1991, pp. 321-322, fig. 5:A, B, pl. 76). Two examples from the Temple Repositories, downdated by Warren to LM IA (Warren and Hankey 1989, pp. 73-74), also are light-on-dark patterned (PMI, p. 605, figs. 404:b, 446). In contrast, an amphora from the South-West Basement has a simple dark-painted plant motif similar to that of 53 (PM I, fig. 403:A). It has been dated by Warren to MM IIIB or early LM IA (Warren 1991, p. 334), but an amphora with a similar motif comes from a mature LM IA context in Akrotiri (Thera I, pl. B8:1). Macdonald recently has downdated the South-West Basement deposit to mature LM IA, correctly in my opinion (Macdonald 1996, p. 19). Also, a mature LM IA amphoriskos from the House of the Frescoes is darkon-light patterned (PM II, fig. 253:A). A trickle-painted example of comparable date has a disc base unknown at Kommos (Catling, Catling, and Smyth 1979, fig. 35: V.232).

South-West Basement at Knossos. The two restored examples show some degree of morphological variation. Even though both have the same maximum diameter, 53 has a taller body with slenderer proportions than 52, and a smaller base diameter. On the front and the back side its neck has been pulled out more than the neck of 52. Further study of the kiln am-phoras is needed in order to determine whether morphological variations correlate with differences in decoration and perhaps manufacturing techniques, in which case it would be likely that more than one potter was using this kiln to fire amphoras.

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