Stratigraphy Of The Kiln Dump

The dump covered a 14.5 by 7.5 m area stretching east, north, and west of the kiln (Fig. 27).22 Farther to the north and east, kiln pottery was mixed with destruction debris of Building T as well as with LM IIIA2/B and historical material.23 The dump was covered by the same LM IIIA2/B stratum that topped the kiln (Fig. 8; see above, p. 28). Below the kiln dump as well as to the west and east of it, excavators found debris of the ruined South Stoa (see above, pp. 5, 8). This destruction material differed from the kiln dump in that it was packed with stone rubble and with painted as well as unpainted plaster fragments. Stoa debris as well as some later accumulation formed the mound on which the kiln had been constructed. To the north, this mound appears to have projected 0.80 m beyond the wall of the kiln, as is indicated by the configuration of the kiln dump and of wall fall just north of the firing chamber.24 On the east side, the kiln mound must have been narrower, because kiln dump pottery was found closer to the kiln.25 A hypothetical reconstruction of the mound's east slope is presented in Figure 24 (p. 23).

The Three Strata

The dump included three soil types distributed in roughly homogeneous strata (Figs. 8, 26-28, 30-31): (1) rather loose, mostly dark brown soil; (2) more compact, reddish clayey soil on top of this; (3) and light brown soil on top of the red clay.

Dark Brown Soil Stratum

The lowest part of the dump deposit consisted of a matrix of rather soft, dark brown to gray-brown soil mixed with some stones (Fig. 28; see also Figs. 8, 26-27).26 Pottery was densely packed and was usually in a fresh condition. Some water damage had occurred, mostly on unpainted conical cups and on medium-coarse sherds.

The dark brown stratum reached its maximum thickness (ca. 0.60 m) and highest elevation (+3.43-3.40 m) on the east side of the kiln, where it was about level with the top of the kiln mound (see Fig. 8: section B-B). It sloped down slightly to the south, spilling in part over the south wall of Building T.27 To the north and northwest, the dark brown stratum showed a more pronounced downslope, gradually thinning to 0.10-0.25 m over an east-west strip beginning about 0.80 m north of the kiln wall. At the north edge of the stoa the stratum sloped up again, covering the two easternmost column bases of the stoa, and continuing over the court of Building T, which had a higher elevation (ca. +2.93-2.98 m) than the stoa surface (ca. +2.80 m) during the lifetime of the kiln. To the west of the kiln, the dark brown stratum maintained a thickness of 0.10-0.25 m, reaching a maximum elevation of +3.08 m near the western edge of the dump. The dipping of the stratum north of the kiln may be related to the existence of a walking track running parallel to the kiln, just north of the kiln mound. The pottery of the uppermost units in this area was unusually worn, perhaps as a result of having been trampled.28 A similarly poor condition of the pottery, presumably as a result of walking activity, has been reported on the surface of the dark brown soil stratum farther to the north. In addition, patchy surfaces have been recognized in the east part of the dump as well as to the west of the kiln.29

The pottery of the dark brown stratum shows more evidence of disturbance than does that of the overlying two strata, and is therefore likely to reflect a different mode of deposition and postdepositional activity. It is

26. Lower brown stratum: trench

112C, 112D, 114, 115, 115A, 116, 116A, 116B, 116C, 116D, 116E, 117, 118, 118A, and part of 120; trench 95A, pails 69, 70, 71, 116, 134, 137, 143, 145, 146, 148, 161, 163, 164, 165, 166, 169, 178, 179, 180, 181, 182, 184, 187, 193, 194, 197, 198, 201, 202, 205, 207, 216; trench 97C, pails 40, 42, 50. Mixed units surrounding the kiln dump and including a large proportion of kiln dump material: trench 91B, pails 45, 46, 47; trench 95B, pails 121, 173, 175; trench 95C, pails 168, 203, 206; trench 97B, pail 52.

  1. The unit on top of the south wall of Building T (trench 90C, pail 100) represents the southern end of the excavated area. It contained a lot of kiln dump pottery, but included sufficient amounts of later material to indicate that it was near the south ern edge of the dump.
  2. Trench 95A, pails 134, 143, 180, 182, 184, 187.
  3. East part of the dump: trench 87B, top of pails 111, 111A, 111B, 111C, 111D, 112, 112A; trench 87B, top of pails 114, 116, 116A, 116B, 116C. Pottery joins found between these surfaces indicate that they have been disturbed. West of the kiln: trench 95A, pails 120, 137, 198, 199; trench 95C, pails 203, 206.

W//W = light brown stratum

Vi" - \ = kiln dump mixed with destruction debris of Building T w = clusters of 10-17 wasters

Figure 28. Kiln dump, lower brown soil stratum, showing highest elevations, number of sherds, and their average weight. A. Van de Moortel and G. Bianco

Figure 28. Kiln dump, lower brown soil stratum, showing highest elevations, number of sherds, and their average weight. A. Van de Moortel and G. Bianco

Kokkino Froudi

argued here that this layer is made up of the refuse of earlier kiln firings as opposed to the red and light brown strata, which represent the debris of the kiln collapse, as will be discussed below. In addition to the evidence for informal walkways, the lower dark brown stratum had fewer clusters of vessels of the same shape than did the upper strata.30 The stratum was thickest and its sherd concentration densest in the area east of the kiln (Figs. 8, 28).31 It is possible that an entrance to the kiln superstructure had been made at this end, allowing access to the space on top of the channels where the vases would have been stacked. The area just outside this entrance conceivably would have been a primary dumping ground for the potter emptying the kiln after firing.32 A first study of pottery joins has shown that parts of the same vases were distributed over relatively large distances, the most remote ones ranging from the east to the northwest of the kiln (20, 37, 60, 65; C 10590). One of these vases (65) had sherds distributed throughout the thickness of the stratum east of the kiln. Thus it seems that the dumped pottery was subsequently moved, perhaps more than once, to the west and north, over the central part of the stoa and onto the court, ostensibly in an effort to manage overflow of debris.

The dark brown soil stratum was not continuous, but left a large area free to the west of the firing pit. This empty space extended the entire width of the stoa between its middle two column bases (Figs. 8: section B-

30. Conical cups of type C were clustered in trench 87B, pails 111,

112D, 116, 116B; trench 95A, pails

165, 179. Conical cups of types E/F: trench 95A, pails 146, 148, 179, 181, 187, 197, 198, 205; trench 97C, pails 42, 50. Dark-splattered conical cups: trench 95A, pail 116. Medium-coarse kalathoi: trench 95A, pail 180; trench 95B, pails 173, 175. Medium-coarse bridge-spouted jars: trench 95B, pail 173. Oval-mouthed amphoras: trench 95A, pails 145, 148, 161, 180, 187;

trench 95B, pails 173, 175. Large concentrations of medium-coarse unpainted sherds were found in trench 87B, pails 111D, 112A, 112D; trench 95A, pails 146, 148, 179, 201, 207; trench 95B, pail 121.

  1. Since the dump was excavated in units ("pails") that varied in shape and size according to the excavators' needs, and the soil strata were highly irregular in shape as well, sherd density calculations must of necessity be approximate. The area east of the kiln shows the largest concentration, having yielded 2,800 sherds as compared to the 5,900 sherds found in an area about four times this size to the north and northwest of the kiln (Fig. 28).
  2. For descriptions of similar dumping behavior among present-day traditional potters in Crete and the Peloponnese, see Blitzer 1984, p. 154; 1990, p. 697, fig. 5, pl. 108:b; Fiandra and Pelagatti 1962, pl. VIII:2; Hampe and Winter 1962, pl. 21.

B; 28). Most likely this space was kept clear to facilitate access to the firing pit, and perhaps also to store fuel within easy reach of the kiln operator (Fig. 24).33 It is also possible that a pottery workshop was located here, but the evidence is scant and its interpretation tenuous. At the west edge of this empty area, about 4 m from the kiln and 2.4 m north of the stoa's south wall, a small cylindrical hole was found (Fig. 29; Figs. 2, 8, 28).34 It measured 0.20 m in diameter and was 0.10 m deep, reaching the pebbled floor of the earlier, Protopalatial, stoa at +2.68 m. It was filled with soft soil containing two undatable, worn sherds. This hole is of a size that could have housed the pivot stone of a potter's wheel, even though such a stone has not yet been identified with certainty at Kommos.35 If a wheel had been located in the hole west of the Kommos kiln, it would likely have had a short axle, sitting close to the ground, since it would have been too far from any wall that could have held the lateral support necessary for tall-axled wheels (Figs. 2, 24, 28).36 Unlike tall examples, low potters' wheels do not have a lower kick-wheel, but only the wheel on which the pottery is thrown. Ethnographic and archaeological evidence, supplemented by experimental data, indicates that such low wheels require the use of wheelheads or bats of at least 0.60 m in diameter in order to create sufficient momentum for throwing pottery.37 Fragmentary coarse slabs of such size, which may have been used as bats for low wheels, were found throughout the Kommos kiln dump, but their identification is likewise uncertain (see below, pp. 85-87).

Further tentative evidence for the presence of a workshop is provided by the discovery of haematite and limonite encrustations on two small

  1. For similar fuel storage practices among traditional potters in Thrapsano and Koroni, see, respectively, Voyatzo-glou 1974, p. 23, and Blitzer 1990, fig. 5.
  2. Bottom of trench 95A, pail 198A.
  3. A stone with socket from the hilltop at Kommos has been tentatively interpreted by Blitzer as being the pivot base for a potter's wheel (Blitzer

1995, p. 487, pl. 8.62:F). It is larger than the cylindrical hole west of the kiln, but need not have been for a potter's wheel. No incontrovertible evidence for a potter's workshop was found on the Kommos hilltop (see below). Moreover, it appears that pivot stones for potters' wheels need not have been very large. Recently, several pivot stones, including two in situ, have been identified in the LM III potters' quarter at Gouves (Chatzi-Vallianou 1995, pp. 1050-1051, fig. 11, pl. 180; Vallianou 1997, pp. 335, 338). Being roughly square or rectangular in section, these stones appear to range in width from ca. 0.13 to 0.16 m, and in height from ca. 0.6 to 0.14 m, and would fit the cylindrical hole to the west of the Kommos kiln. A pivot stone also has been reported from a LM IB-II potter's workshop at Mochlos (Soles 1997, p. 427). No dimensions have been published, however. The identification of other Minoan wheel supports from the Heraklion area and Vathy-petro is uncertain, and no dimensions are known (Evely 1988, p. 117, pl. 20). It is worthwhile to point out that some ancient pivot stones from the Levant and Egypt, as well as present-day examples from traditional potters' workshops in Crete and India, are comparable in size to the Gouves pivot stones, ranging between 0.12 and 0.20 m in diameter, and between 0.05 and 0.10 m in height (Evely 1988, figs. 12-14; for the Cretan examples, see Hampe and Winter 1962, figs. 13, 14;

Fiandra and Pelagatti 1962, figs. 1, 3, pl. I:2; Voyatzoglou 1984, p. 134, fig. 17-1, pl. 14:D). Some of the latter stones project above the surrounding surface, as would three of the Gouves stones if placed in the hole at Kommos.

  1. Present-day Cretan examples hold wheels with tall axles that are supported at a higher level by crossbars anchored in a wall. It is interesting to note that the two pivot stones found in situ at Gouves were also located close to walls (Vallianou 1997, pp. 335, 338, pl. CXXVI:c). Thus they may have housed wheels with tall axles. The pivot stones from the Levant, Egypt, and India mentioned in the previous note belonged to low wheels.
  2. Evely 1988, pp. 112-115. Evely himself (1988, p. 118) prefers a low rather than a tall axle for the Minoan wheel, although without adducing any evidence.

Figure 29. Cylindrical hole (Depth 0.10 m, Diam. 0.20 m) found in surface about 4 m west of kiln (see also Fig. 28).

Figure 29. Cylindrical hole (Depth 0.10 m, Diam. 0.20 m) found in surface about 4 m west of kiln (see also Fig. 28).

Temporary Kiln For Black Pottery

clusters of pottery found just east and northeast of the kiln. It is possible that this ochre had been used for the painting of vases.38 In addition, a ceramic potter's rib has been tentatively identified in a mixed LM IA-B context on the hillside at Kommos, and could have come from a workshop connected with the kiln.39 Apart from this possible tool, the ochre, the presumed bats, and the hole, which may have held a pivot stone, however, more definite clues for a LM IA pottery production facility—such as potters' wheels, pivot stones, tools, settling basins, or clay stores—are lacking. It is likely that most potters' tools then, as today, were made of perishable materials, and that whatever was still of use would have been removed when operations ended,40 but this also means that we are unable to positively identify the location of a potter's workshop in association with this kiln or elsewhere on the site.

38. Pottery with ochre encrustations or stains was found in trench 87B, pails

106E, 107, 107C, 111, and 112 (including 4, 8, 9, and 17). The limonite was identified by Vassilis Kilikoglou and by Alain Dandrau. It is a hydrated form of haematite (hydrous ferric oxide), yellow

(10YR 7/6, 10YR 7/8) to brownish yellow (10YR 6/8) in color. The ochre presumably had been dumped in these locations. Red and yellow pigments have been found in a LM IB-II potter's workshop at Mochlos (Soles 1997, p. 427). Abundant red and yellow ochre remains also were found in Early Chalcolithic pottery workshops at Haci-lar (Mellaart 1970, pp. 30-31). Querns and mortars from Hacilar were found covered with this material, and it is clear that this ochre had been used for painting pottery (Michaelidis 1993, p. 34).

  1. Blitzer 1995, p. 521, C 5.
  2. All the tools used by 20th-century traditional potters at Kentri are made of perishable materials, except for iron potters' wheels (Blitzer 1984, pp. 148-149). Reasons for the poor visibility of pottery production locations in the archaeological record are discussed comprehensively by London (1989a, pp. 73-78; 1989b, pp. 224-225). However, potters' tools and installations made of nonperishable materials have been identified in the Minoan archaeological record. These include potters' wheels or "mats," points, and spatulas, as well as other small tools made of bronze or bone, stone polishers, stone palettes or slabs, stone mortars or querns, sunken settling basins, ceramic jars for clay storage, and remnants of raw clay and pigments. Various groups of such remains have been found at Myrtos Fournou Korifi (Warren 1972, pp. 18-20), Mallia (van Effenterre and van Effenterre 1976, pp. 81-82; Poursat 1983, p. 279; 1992, pp. 17-20), Chania (Tzedakis 1968, p. 425; 1969, p. 503), Zominthos (Sakellarakis 1989, pp. 168-171), Zou (Platon 1961), Vathy-petro (Marinatos 1952, p. 272; 1960, p. 310), and more recently at Gouves (Vallianou 1997) and Mochlos (Soles 1997, p. 427). Cf. Evely in press.

TABLE 3. ESTIMATED NUMBER OF VASES IN THE DUMP STRATA41

Vessel Shape Lower Dark Brown

Red

Light B

Conical cups

type C

120

129

11

type D

3

4

type E

28

37

5

type F

33

41

6

type P

20

24

1

type Q

15

4

1

type V

12

11

2

Teacups

4

2

2

Straight-sided cups,

narrow

12

2

1

wide

2

3

Bell cups

4

7

Side-spouted cups

3

11

1

Convex-sided bowls

3

4

Conical bowls

1

2

1

Kalathoi,

fine

6

6

3

medium-coarse

26

36

4

Bridge-spouted jars,

fine

30

32

5

medium-coarse

19

12

1

Collar-necked jugs,

fine

11

11

2

medium-coarse

11

12

2

Ewers,

fine

8

10

3

medium-coarse

5

4

1

Rhyta,

globular

13

6

1

piriform

1

1

1

Oval-mouthed amphoras 28

31

7

Basins

2

5

3

Large jars

5

Pithoi

4

3

1

Fine pedestaled vases

2

2

1

Total

431

452

66

Wasters

140

157

15

Coarse slabs

26

24

12

Sherds (count)

12,828

9,435

2,301

Sherds (kg)

227.640

158.248

49.250

Sherds (avg. wt.)

0.018

0.017

0.021

Sherd totals include wasters and slabs.

Vases that were distributed over more than one stratum have been listed under the stratum that contained the majority of the fragments.

41. For a description of the method used for counting and weighing sherds, see above, note 15. Percentages of extraneous material are higher in the dump than inside the kiln, approximating 7% by count and 12% by weight.

W//W = light brown stratum

Vi" \ = kiln dump mixed with destruction debris of Building T w = clusters of 10-17 wasters

Figure 30. Kiln dump, red soil stratum, showing highest elevations, number of sherds, and their average weight. A. Van de Moortel and G. Bianco

Figure 30. Kiln dump, red soil stratum, showing highest elevations, number of sherds, and their average weight. A. Van de Moortel and G. Bianco

Normalf Rdelning

The dark brown stratum contained a large range of vessel types, representing all the shapes that are thought to have been produced in the kiln (Table 3). Many lumps of clay have been found throughout this stratum as well. These could represent fragments of the interior lining of the kiln, which occasionally may have been replaced.42 They may also be discarded remains of clay and mud that could have been used to seal the entrance to the firing pit and the presumed eastern entrance to the area above the channels during each firing.43

Red Clayey Stratum

The second stratum of the dump had a reddish-brown clayey soil matrix mixed with occasional small stones, calcite fragments, and charcoal (Fig. 30; see also Figs. 8, 26-27).44 It reportedly was less densely packed with pottery than was the underlying dark brown stratum.45

Covering a smaller area than did the underlying stratum, it was mostly contained within the stoa; only its northeastern part extended for a short distance over the court of Building T. West of the kiln, red-brown soil filled the hollow within the lower brown stratum in front of the kiln's

  1. This practice was brought to my attention by a traditional potter at Thrapsano, in the summer of 1994. There is evidence for the replastering of the kiln channels at Kommos as well (see above).
  2. For similar practices in traditional Greek kilns, see Voyatzoglou 1974, p. 23; 1984, p. 141; Blitzer 1984, pp. 153, 156, note 43; 1990, p. 696. In addition, all these kilns have temporary roofs partially made out of clay, so that the clay accumulation after each firing must have been more substantial than for the Kommos kiln, which presumably had a permanent roof (see above).
  3. Red soil stratum: trench 87B, pails 81, 86, 93A, 96, 105A, 105B, 106,

106A, 106B, 106C, 106D, 106E, 107, 107A, 107B, 107C, 108, 113; trench 95A, pails 68, 76, 78, 92, 94, 95, 109, 110, 115, 117, 118, 119, 136, 138, 139, 140, 144, 147, 150, 151, 152, 153, 156, 157, 157A, 158, 160, 176, 188, 189, 191, 195. Pails 81 and 86 of trench 87B covered the northernmost channel.

45. Supporting the excavator's observation is the fact that the red stratum contained fewer sherds than the lower dark brown stratum (see Table 3), even though the soil volume of both strata may have been comparable, the red stratum being thicker but at the same time more restricted in area than the lower dark brown stratum.

firing pit (Fig. 27). Over most of its extent, the red-brown stratum was thicker than the dark brown stratum, and it had not one but two areas of exceptional thickness, located east and west of the kiln. East of channel 1, it was 0.30 to 0.35 m thick, with a top elevation of +3.66 m, remaining about 0.25 m below the top level of the kiln wall. It gradually thinned to the north, northwest, and south. West of the kiln, the red-brown stratum was thicker (0.40-0.50 m) than on the east, peaking at +3.40 m at about 4 m from the kiln, in the vicinity of the cylindrical hole discussed above. To the south, it ended roughly level with the wall of Building T as it is presently preserved. The bottom of the red stratum was marked by some fire-blackened patches west and southwest of the firing pit.46

This red-brown stratum is similar in composition to the reddish soil stratum found inside the kiln. Both include clay lumps with reed impressions as well as sherds and clay lumps covered with a limey substance (see above, p. 28).47 Limey coatings are virtually nonexistent in the dark brown layer.48 Because of these striking similarities it seems likely that the red-brown stratum outside the kiln, like the one inside, represents part of the kiln superstructure. Since it was sitting on top of the dark brown stratum and was only to a limited degree intermingled with it (see below, p. 42), it would appear to have been deposited after the kiln collapsed, and so is not the product of occasional dismantlings of the superstructure during the kiln's lifetime. As such, it should contain vases belonging to the last firing load of the kiln. This hypothesis is supported by the discovery of pottery joins between the red stratum outside the kiln and the fill inside.49

Like the dark brown stratum, the red stratum contained all vase types thought to have been produced in the kiln (Table 3). These were generally in excellent condition, there being no evidence from this stratum for wear of the type caused by trampling such as that attested on the pottery from the lower layer. As in the lower stratum, water damage occurred frequently on unpainted conical cups and medium-coarse sherds. Vases of the same shape tended to cluster more than they did in the dark brown stratum, suggesting that the red stratum, unlike the lower stratum, was the result of a single, relatively undisturbed depositional episode.50 Sherds of several

  1. Trench 95A, pails 157, 157A, 158.
  2. All reported occurrences of limey deposits on sherds are in the western part of the dump: trench 95A, pails 94, 109, 110, 115, 117, 119, 138, 144, 156. They have not been noted for the eastern part (trench 87B), but all the pottery from that area has been acid-washed, and it is likely that this removed all traces of lime.
  3. Limey encrustations occur in only three pottery units of the lower dark brown stratum. Two were situated just south of the firing pit entrance at the bottom of the kiln wall (trench 95A, pails 71, 161), and the other was excavated on the court (trench 95B, pail 175). All were associated with plaster debris, so it is likely that these encrustations are redeposited lime plaster.
  4. See notes 7 and 66 in this chapter. All these vases include fragments from the red stratum and usually also from the dark brown or light brown stratum outside the kiln. The number of such joins is still relatively low, but is likely to increase in the future after a more thorough search. The joins with the dark brown stratum could be explained as a result of limited intermingling during the initial spreading of the red and light brown strata over the dark brown stratum, or as a result of later disturbances (see below, pp. 39, 42).
  5. Conical cups of type C cluster in: trench 95A, pails 94, 117, 119, 138, 157. Conical cups of type E: trench 87B, pail 107; trench 95A, pails 109,

115, 118, 119, 188, 189, 195. Conical cups of type F: trench 95A, pails 109, 115, 118, 119, 188, 189, 195. Unpainted conical cups: trench 87B, pails 105A, 106B, 107B; trench 95A, pails 92, 95, 147, 156, 160, 191. Monochrome conical cups: trench 95A, pail 115. Medium-coarse side-spouted cups: trench 95A, pails 109, 110, 115, 157. Medium-coarse kalathoi: trench 87B, pail 106E; trench 95A, pails 92, 94, 95, 109, 110, 119, 144, 152, 156, 157, 158. Fine bridge-spouted jars: trench 95A, pails 147, 156. Wide-mouthed jugs: trench 95A, pails 95, 119. Ewers: trench 87B, pail 106D; trench 95A, pail 156. Oval-mouthed amphoras: trench 87B, pails 106D, 106E; trench 95A, pails 95, 157. Pithoi: trench 95A, pail 153.

W//W = light brown stratum

Vi" V.~\ = 1111 dump mixed with destruction debris of BuildingT

Figure 31. Kiln dump, light brown soil stratum, showing highest elevations, number of sherds, and their average weight. A. Van de Moortel and G. Bianco vases in the red stratum were distributed east and west of the kiln, over larger distances than those within the dark brown stratum. This, and the fact that one of these vases (55) included fragments from inside the kiln, supports the interpretation of the red soil as representing part of the kiln superstructure, removed after its final collapse.51

It appears that the leveling of the kiln superstructure and the removal of part of the last kiln load took place still in LM IA. This is suggested by the absence of post-LM IA pottery in the red and blackened soil strata inside the kiln, other than a few LM IIIA2 contaminants in the southernmost channel, which are most likely traceable to later oven activity in that area (see above). Also, the hollow in the dark brown stratum west of the kiln as well as the top pails of the dark brown stratum, which would have been exposed until covered by the deposition of the red soil, is free of post-LM IA accumulations. Further support for a LM IA date for the dismantling of the kiln will be adduced below (p. 41).

Light Brown Soil

The topmost discrete soil stratum detected within the kiln dump was a matrix of light brown soil mixed with small stones (Figs. 8: section B-B, 31; see also Fig. 26). A thin layer of this soil covered the three southernmost channels of the kiln.

The stratum continued east and north of the firing chamber, sitting atop the red clayey stratum, but being more restricted in area.52 Like the red stratum it was thickest east and west of the kiln. East of channel 1, it had a maximum elevation of+3.99 m, rising slightly higher than the top of the kiln wall (+3.92 m). With a maximum thickness of 0.50 m, it was thicker than the red stratum. To the south, the light brown stratum thinned to 0.25 m. It spilled over the south wall ofBuilding T, dipping down abruptly to the south of this wall. North of the kiln it tapered rapidly, remaining on the whole somewhat thicker than the red layer (0.15-0.20 m). Just west of the firing pit there was a small but thick (0.40 m) deposit of light brown soil, which continued into the firing pit. It was mixed with large cut stones representing LM IIIB collapse from the south wall of Building T (Fig. 8), and inside the firing pit it was contaminated with LM IIIA-B vase fragments (see above).

51. See below, 32, 35, 40, 55, 58, 70; also C 10155, C 10553, C 10560, C 10562, C 10587, C 10588, C 10591, C 10595. Some include fragments from north of the kiln: 58, 70; C 10562,

C 10587. Others were distributed east and north of the kiln: see below, 20, 47, 50, 51, 59; also C 10135, C 10426, C 10547. West and north of the kiln: C 10589.

52. Light brown layer: trench 90C, pail 87, covering the three southernmost channels; trench 87B, pails 99, 102, 103, 104, north of firing chamber; trench 87B, pails 80, 82, 83, 84, 93, 97, and trench 90C, pails 86, 90, 94, 100, east of the kiln; trench 95A, pails 104, 107, deposit west of firing pit; trench 95A, pail 103, inside the firing pit.

The pottery of the light brown layer is mostly fresh except for heavy water damage suffered by some conical cups and unpainted medium-coarse vessels. No limey coating has been reported. Sherd density was much lower than in the lower two strata (cf. Figs. 28, 30), but vase shapes are similar (Table 3). There are many joins with the pottery from the red stratum, including many examples that are distributed in the areas east and west, or east and north, of the kiln.53 Vases of the same shape clustered together to a degree comparable to the clustering in the red stratum.54

The interpretation of the light brown stratum is less certain than that of the red stratum. Sharing many similarities and pottery joins with that stratum, and some joins with pottery fragments from within the kiln, it is likely to be part of the dismantled superstructure as well.55 Its much greater extent to the east and northeast than to the west may reflect the fact that the roof over the firing chamber was much larger than that over the firing pit. Its light brown color suggests that this layer was less exposed to heat. It is difficult to explain, however, why the light brown stratum, if it were merely part of the dismantled superstructure, was sitting neatly on top of the red stratum rather than being intermingled with it.

It is argued here that this upper stratum represents kiln debris that suffered postdepositional disturbance. This is strongly suggested by the LM IIIA-B contamination of the light brown deposit in the firing pit and by the fact that inside as well as just west of the kiln, light brown soil was superimposed on small LM IIIB and LM IIIA deposits, respectively.56 LM IIIB should thus be taken as the terminus post quem for the last disturbance. This particular episode must have been related to the collapse of the adjacent south wall of Building T, during which a group of cut wall blocks penetrated the light brown stratum (see above, p. 39). In the east part of the dump, on the other hand, the large expanse of light brown soil may have been disturbed during the building or use of the LM IIIA2/B Building P located just to the east, or even earlier. There is evidence of at least two major instances of disturbance that took place after the leveling of the kiln superstructure.

Kiln Waste Used Elsewhere

At a distance of about 50 m northeast of the kiln, a LM IA fill was discovered alongside the east facade of Building T; its upper level ran about level with the top of the krepidoma, and its lower reached close to the bottom of the krepidoma.57 This fill contained several wasters as well as fresh-

53. Vases with joins among fragments from the light brown and the red strata: 17, 35, 42; also C 10572, C 10598. From the kiln, the red, and the light brown strata: 55. From the three strata: see below, note 66. Vases with fragments distributed east and west of the kiln: 32, 35, 40, 55, 58,

C 10283, with sherds from the light brown and lower dark brown strata only. Vases with fragments east and north of kiln: 47, 50; C 10426.

  1. Unpainted conical cups cluster in: trench 87B, pail 82; trench 90C, pails 86, 90. Fine monochrome bridge-spouted jars: trench 90C, pail 100. Kalathoi: trench 90C, pail 94. Pithoi: trench 87B, pail 83.
  2. For the distribution of joining fragments, see note 7 above.
  3. Inside the firing pit, pail 103 of the light brown stratum covered pail 105, datable to LM IIIB. To the west of the pit, pail 104 of the light brown stratum was found superimposed over pail 117, which represents a small LM IIIA deposit including a kylix rim. All these pails belong to trench 95A.
  4. Trench 88A, pail 37. The fill was roughly 0.20 to 0.25 m thick (from +3.39-3.44 m to +3.62-3.66 m). The bottom of the krepidoma is at +3.42 m.

looking sherds resembling material from the kiln dump. No fewer than five pottery joins have been found between this fill and the dump, confirming that part of the fill consisted of waste from the kiln dump.58 Nearly all joining fragments, and also most nonjoining sherds—which to all appearances belong to vessels from the fill—came from the eastern part of the dump.59 This distribution indicates that the reused kiln dump material found east of Building T was taken primarily from the area east of the kiln, which would explain why the eastern border of the dump is rather straight and terminates abruptly (Figs. 8: section B-B; 27).

Several vases with fragments in the fill east of Building T come from the red and the light brown strata of the dump. If these strata indeed represent the dismantled kiln superstructure, the sherds would have been removed only after the kiln had been leveled. Thus the fact that the fill east of Building T is solidly dated to LM IA strengthens the proposed LM IA date for the leveling of the kiln superstructure. Apart from this irrefutable example of the reuse of kiln waste, it is possible that sherds from the dump were used for other purposes elsewhere on the site.60

  1. See below, 18; also ewer C 10562; oval-mouthed amphora C 10595; strainer C 10491; fine conical vase C 10571. The latter two belong to rare shapes that may not be kiln products. The joining fragments were found in the following units: trench 87B, pails 106B, 108 (red); trench 87B, pails 109, 111, 116 (lower dark brown); trench 90C, pail 94 (light brown). The fill east of Building T contained 6,265 sherds weighing 56.125 kg. Kiln dump material appears to have made up only part of this fill, however, since most of the sherds of the fill differ in character from the kiln dump pottery. They are much more worn and, unlike in the dump, teacups, straight-sided cups, and cooking pots, are common shapes. In the fill, cooking vessels make up 15% by count, and medium-coarse pottery only 37%. The average weight of fine sherds is 0.004 kg, and of medium-coarse sherds 0.014 kg. In the dump, however, cooking pots represent only 4% of the pottery of the red stratum by count, and 7% of the lower dark brown stratum. Medium-coarse sherds make up as much as 51% of the red stratum by count, and 52% of the lower dark brown stratum, and 66% and 67% in weight, respectively. With an average weight of 0.007 kg for fine sherds, and 0.022 to 0.023 kg for medium-coarse fragments, the kiln dump pottery obviously is less fragmented than are the sherds of the fill east of Building T.
  2. Nonjoining sherds from east of kiln: trench 87B, pails 82, 89, 92, 93, 97, 105, 105A, 106D, 111B, 111D, 112, 115, 116C, 116E; trench 90C, pail 90. Northeast part of dump: trench 87B, pails 112, 112A, 112D, 116A, 116B; trench 91B, pails 45,
  3. Northwest part of dump: trench 95A, pails 147, 148, 201). South of firing pit: trench 95A, pails 161, 164. Southernmost channel: trench 95A, pail 131. Some of the nonjoining fragments undoubtedly belong to bridge-spouted jar C 10490.
  4. There are archaeological as well as ethnographic examples of the recycling of potsherds for use in the household or as building materials, but these practices have not yet been studied at Kommos. For pottery recycling at the Neolithic site of

Nea Makri, see Pantelidou-Gopha 1991. For ethnographic examples from Cyprus, see London 1989a, pp. 76-77; 1989b, p. 221. The use of potsherds in the walls of Minoan ovens in the Zakros area is mentioned by Chrysoulaki (1996, p. 17). She also alludes to reused potsherds in Minoan pottery and metal workshops at Kokkino Froudi (Chrysoulaki 1996, pp. 20-21).

LM IIIA Disturbance

Six LM IIIA sherds have been found mixed in with the dark brown stratum, in the vicinity of the LM IIIA2-B Building P (see p. 9; Fig. 1).61 One fragment probably dates to LM IIIA, and the five others seem to belong to a single amphora (C 9063), datable to the construction phase of Building P (early LM IIIA2). Parts of this amphora also have been discovered below the floor of Gallery 5 of that building.62 Thus it appears that this particular instance of contamination is related to the construction of Building P. Perhaps at that time a need was felt to tidy up the dump, which was located in front of Gallery 6 (see above). A small, rough east-west row of stones, no more closely datable than LM IIIA2/B, was found in the same area, about one meter northeast of the kiln, and at an elevation of ca. +3.58 m, which is 0.15 to 0.60 m higher than the contaminating sherds.63 The stones formed a retaining wall separating kiln dump pottery from LM IIIA2/B material, and may have been part of the same landscaping effort.

Mixing of Strata

Even though the three strata of the dump are fairly distinct, some degree of intermingling has occurred, perhaps during the initial spreading of the kiln superstructure over the dump or as a result of later disturbances. Small patches of dark brown soil have been found on top of the red stratum in the area of the firing pit as well as farther to the north.64 At the edge of the stoa and over the court of Building T, displaced stoa debris, dating to early LM IA, was encountered on top of the dark brown stratum.65 In addition, pottery joins have been found between the three strata.66

Because of the evidence for limited mixing of the strata, one has to keep in mind that not all the pottery from the red and the light brown strata may be the products of the last firing of the kiln. Only those vases that include fragments from inside the kiln may be accepted as certainly belonging to the last load. However, a rough calculation shows that most of the vases found in the red and the light brown strata could in fact have fit in the kiln. A more thorough search for joins between the pottery of these strata and that of the kiln should throw more light on this question.

  1. Trench 87B, pails 111D (LM IIIA), 115, 116, 116D, 118. The fragments were identified by Rutter.
  2. Trench 93A, pails 1b, 4, 5a, 6, 7/1, 10.
  3. Dismantling of the row of stones: trench 87B, pail 94. Kiln dump units located to the south of it were: trench 87B, pails 80, 82, 83, 84, 93, all embedded in light brown soil. LM IIIA2/B units to the north were: trench 87B, pails 85, 88, 92.
  4. South of firing pit: trench 95A, pails 70, 71 situated on top of pails 109,

156, 158. Over north wall of firing pit: trench 95A, pail 69. Stoa edge: trench

95A, part of pails 138, 139 on top of pails 150, 151, 152, 153, 188. North of firing chamber: trench 87B, pail 99.

  1. In stoa: trench 95A, pail 139. On court of Building T: trench 95A, pail 134 situated on top of pails 145 and 146, which belong to the dark brown stratum.
  2. Joins between fragments from the light brown, the red, and the lower dark brown strata only: 32, 40, 46, 47, 50, 58, 70; also C 9439, C 10426,

C 10579, C 10587. Between the red and the lower dark brown strata only: 22, 23, 26, 27, 34, 45, 48, 51, 59; C 9443, C 9943, C 10135, C 10155, C 10277, C 10542, C 10547, C 10553, C 10560, C 10565, C 10569, C 10575,

C 10582, C 10583, C 10588, C 10589, C 10590, C 10592, C 10596. Between the light brown and the lower dark brown strata only: 31, 53; C 10283, C 10594. Between the kiln, the red, and the lower dark brown strata: C 9957, C 10591. Between the kiln, the red, the light brown, and the lower dark brown strata: 54. Between the kiln, the red, the light brown, and the lower dark brown strata, and the LM IA fill east of Building T: C 10490. Between this LM IA fill, and the red and the lower dark brown strata: 48, C 10562. Between this LM IA fill, and the red, the light brown, and the lower dark brown strata: C 10595. See also above, note 53.

TABLE 4. ESTIMATED NUMBER OF VASES IN THE KILN AND THE DUMP67

Vessel Shape

Kiln

Dump

Total

Conical cups

type C

50

260

310

type D

7

7

type E

70

70

type F

80

80

type P

80

45

125

type Q

20

20

40

type V

25

25

Teacups

8

8

Straight-sided cups,

narrow

15

15

wide

5

5

Bell cups

9

11

20

Side-spouted cups

8

15

23

Convex-sided bowls

7

7

Conical bowls

1

4

5

Kalathoi,

fine

2

15

17

medium-coarse

4

66

70

Bridge-spouted jars,

fine

16

67

83

medium-coarse

1

32

33

Collar-necked jugs,

fine

6

24

30

medium-coarse

25

25

Ewers,

fine

2

21

23

medium-coarse

2

10

12

Rhyta,

globular

20

20

piriform

3

3

Oval-mouthed amphoras 4

66

70

Basins

2

10

12

Large jars

5

5

Pithoi

2

8

10

Fine pedestaled vases

5

5

Total

209

949

1,158

Wasters

3

312

315

Coarse slabs

3

62

65

Sherds (count)

1,467

24,564

26,031

Sherds (kg)

20.995

435.138

456.133

Sherds (avg. wt.)

0.014

0.018

0.018

Sherd totals include wasters and slabs.

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