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Excavations at Sissi III

 | 
Jan Driessen
, 
Charlotte Langohr
, 
Quentin Letesson
, 
et al.

7. Observations on some Late Minoan Pottery from Sissi

Charlotte Langohr

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  • 2 In 2011, the processing of the archaeological material and the strewing of the pottery was carried (...)

1The 2011 excavation and conservation campaigns at Sissi yielded some more Late Minoan (LM) pottery of great interest2. This pottery essentially belongs to the LM IIIB occupation of the Kefali and comes from Building CD on top of the hill (Gaignerot, this volume; Letesson, this vloume) and from Building F on its south slope (Jussseret, this volume). The excavation of the open area between Buildings CD and E on the summit also provided additional material corresponding with the successive dumping episodes carried out through the Final Palatial and Postpalatial periods but also to building activities linked to the Neopalatial period (Devolder, this volume).

2The following presentation and analysis of a small sample of the pottery from Sissi only takes into account a number of vases which were conserved, drawn, photographed and preliminarily studied during the 2011 campaign. Since the systematic study of the assemblages will only start in the summer of 2013, we cannot yet provide any details on the internal ceramic sequence of the site. The aim of the present chapter is only to offer a preliminary idea of the consumption of certain types of ceramic vessels at Sissi from the Neopalatial to the Post-palatial periods and to place this in a regional and wider Cretan context. To this is added a discussion of the first results of our program of petrographical analysis (Liard, this volume).

1. The open area between Buildings CD and E (Zone 5)

3The additional LM IIIA1-B fills excavated in 2011 in the open area between Buildings CD and E is here not further considered (Sissi I: 174, fig. 9.17-9.18; Sissi II: 188, fig. 8.11). Still, some remarks are necessary with regard to the LM IIIB date of the ceramic material found in the upper levels of the “lakkos” FE87 and directly to the north of this pit, and discussed in the previous report (Sissi II: 188, fig. 8.11). Stylistic parallels were made, among others, with patterns and motives painted on LM IIIB2 drinking vessels from Kastelli Khania (Hallager 2003: fig. 49, pl. 49). Discussions with pottery specialists and above all the thorough publication of the pottery of the LM IIIB1 settlement on the Agia Aikaterini Square at Kastelli Khania (Hallager 2011) now allow the recognition of a great deal of LM IIIB1 shapes and stylistic features among this refuse material, dumped along the south façade of Building CD. Nevertheless, the particularly large assemblages of finely decorated and plain, freshly broken pottery found in and around pit FE 087 requires a careful study which, in connection with the stratigraphical and taphonomic data, may eventually allow the definition of a proper LM IIIA2-IIIB internal ceramic sequence.

4Apart from the important use of this open area in the Final Palatial and Postpalatial periods, the 2011 campaign has clarified some of the Neopalatial activities which took place here. It has now become clear that Building CD in part is the result of a Neopalatial process which overlaid and disturbed earlier Prepalatial and Protopalatial structures and levels (Devolder, this volume). The fills installed on occasion of the building operation contained pottery with a LM IA terminus post quem. Of particular interest among the sherd material of these fills are several joining pieces of a finely decorated LM IA vessel (11-05-1959; fig. 7.1). This closed shape is made in a fine buff fabric and decorated with a red to dark brown paint. The top surface of the flat horizontal, thickened rim is adorned with groups of parallel lines alternating with a cross pattern. Above several horizontal bands the generous decoration of the shoulder depicts a curve-stemmed ivy pattern, combining spirals and stamens with dotting in added white paint (for the LM IA date of the motive, see Popham 1967: fig. 1:11, pl. 77d, 2nd row, 2nd from left). A similarly decorated vessel was found at Mochlos (Barnard & Brogan 2011: 434, fig. 7 [P25]) where it is considered as a probable Maliot import. Additional LM IA ceramic vases showing this specific motive and style come from other Eastern Cretan sites, including Pseira (Betancourt 2011: 403, fig. 2 [AB 4, n° 10]) and Palaikastro (Bosanquet & Dawkins 1923: 30, fig. 19b). The combination of spirals and floral patterns is characteristic of LM I, and especially LM IA, in Eastern Crete (Betancourt 1999: 154).

5LM IA pottery evidenced at Sissi before the last campaign was almost exclusively represented by plain or sometimes very simply dark-on-light decorated domestic wares making up the massive fills collected in rooms 2.6. and 2.8. of Building BC on the north slope of the hill (Carpentier, this volume; Sissi II: 175-176, fig. 8.1). However, sherd material from fine and pattern-decorated LM IA pottery, often mixed with similar material of a LM IB date, was found in some of the soundings carried out within the rooms (such as 4.9) of Building CD (Sissi II: 179). Once again, the future definition of an intra-site ceramic sequence for the different and scattered ceramic assemblages of the settlement may allow in this case to consider if very distinct LM IA pottery groups were consumed in distinct but contemporaneous and nearby dwellings.

Fig. 7.1. OPEN AREA BETWEEN BUILDINGS CD AND E, NEOPALATIAL FILLS AGAINST THE WESTERN TERRACE WALL. SEVERAL JOINING PIECES OF A FINELY DECORATED LM IA VESSEL, CURVE-STEMMED IVY PATTERN (11-05-1959) (CHR. PAPANIKOLOPOULOS)

2. Building CD

6Room 3.5 in the western wing of Building CD revealed a primary floor deposit. It probably belongs to a phase preceding the last, abandonment phase of the complex (Gaignerot, this volume). The deposit includes two jugs, two conical cups and a three-handled, straight-sided alabastron (11-03-0589-OB005; fig. 7.2). The latter shows a rounded base, an angular shoulder, a concave neck and a short, everted, horizontal rim. Two of the horizontal handles are missing. The alabastron is made in a fine light brown fabric and decorated in a red to brown paint of thin and thick horizontal bands and a panelled pattern structured by the position of the three handles. The top of the rim is decorated with adder marks and the underside of the vase is painted with a solid and several concentric circles.

Fig. 7.2. BUILDING CD, ROOM 3.5. LM IIIB THREE-HANDLED STRAIGHT-SIDED ALABASTRON (11-03-0589-OB005) (CHR. PAPANIKOLOPOULOS)

7The straight-sided alabastron (and its globular version) is particularly common in West-Crete and especially popular in the LM IIIA2-B tombs of the cemetery at Armenoi. There they are more generously decorated with various abstract motives (Tzedakis 1973-1974: pl. 687στ, 689α-β; Tzedakis 1976: pl. 291γ, 292ε; Τzedakis 1980: pl. 318β, 320δ; Godart & Tzedakis 1992: pl. CXXVII: 3, pl. CXXXV: 2). Closer to Sissi, decorated three-handled angular alabastra have been discovered in LM IIIB tombs at Milatos (Aghios Nikolaos Museum), Gournes (Kanta 1980: fig. 22:6), Knossos-Zapher Papoura (Evans 1906: pl. XC, fig. 100v). These examples also show a banded decoration on the body and neck while the Milatos and Knossos examples are decorated on the shoulder with a frieze of flowers and pendant festoons respectively. In the present state of knowledge, B. Hallager has noted that the straight-sided alabastron “seems to have been a rare shape in central and eastern Crete” (Hallager 2003: 218) and that in Central Crete the straight-sided alabastron provided with a spout and two lateral horizontal handles, and sometimes a third vertical one, is more common (Hallager 2011: 303, n. 402 with references). For example, a straight-sided spouted alabastron has been found at the neighbouring site of Malia, in LM IIIB Quartier Nu (91.1507.002; fig. 7.3).

Fig. 7.3. MALIA, QUARTIER NU, ROOM X7. LM IIIB STRAIGHT-SIDED SPOUTED ALABASTRON (91.1507.002) (COURTESY A. FARNOUX & J. DRIESSEN)

  • 3 As such, the small Khaniote globular or squat stirrup jar is a valuable chronological marker, as sh (...)

8The primary destruction deposit uncovered in the relatively small room 4.15 has provided several restorable vases, notably pithoi, a small hut-model (Letesson, this volume, fig. 4.35), a deep bowl and two small decorated stirrup jars, one of which is exceptionally well-preserved (11-04-1789-OB009; fig. 7.4). This small globular stirrup jar shows an elegantly painted decoration covering the upper half part of the body. A large rosette adorns the space below the spout. The petals are bordered by dots and underlined by a double exterior line. The rest of the upper body zone is decorated with the octopus tentacles motive, here reduced to its simplest form of two superimposed undulating and graceful lines ending in a spiral on both sides of the top of the rosette. Two groups of two horizontal bands framing horizontal thin lines fill the lower part of the body. The whitish fabric, the bright red to brown colour of the paint, and the style and composition of the decoration of this stirrup jar make it a very good candidate for an import of the Kydonian Workshop of the LM IIIB1/Early period (on the Kydonian Workshop, see Tzedakis 1969; Hallager 2003: 261; Hallager 2011: 375-376). At Khania, B. Hallager noticed that the “small globular stirrup jars are very rare in the settlements at Agia Aikaterini before LM IIIB: 1 but in this period they suddenly become very popular together with the small squat stirrup jar” (Hallager 2011: 299). Small stirrup jars, with notably linear octopus decoration and flower motives, continue at Khania in LM IIIB2 (Hallager 2003: 215, n. 204, 216, n. 215) although they become more rare3.

Fig. 7.4. BUILDING CD, ROOM 4.15. SMALL LM IIIB GLOBULAR DECORATED STIRRUP JAR (11-04-1789-OB009) (CHR. PAPANIKOLOPOULOS)

9LM IIIB1 Khaniote small stirrup jars decorated with this rosette motive are numerous, but the motive is generally smaller or included in a larger flower pattern (Tzedakis 1969: fig. 32; Hallager 2011: 299, pl. 169e: 3). This picture is completed by Khaniote or possibly Khaniote imported small globular or squat fine stirrup jars which are painted with this motive and have been found in the following Cretan sites, in settlements or tombs: Maroulas-Rethymnon (Papapostolou 1974: pl. 191δ), Knossos-Zapher Papoura (Evans 1906: fig. 114 [54. a]), Gournes (Kanta 1980: fig. 22:3), Gournia (Boyd Hawes 1908: fig. 25, pl. X: 39), Kritsa (Kanta 1980: fig. 117: 4), Episkopi-Ierapetra (Kanta 1980: fig. 131: 2), Mochlos (Smith 2010: fig. 57 [IIB. 729]) and Kalochorafitis (Kanta 1980: fig. 43: 4). In particular, three examples from tombs at Armenoi are especially similar to the Sissiot vase with a rosette as principal motive, dotted decoration along the leaves and undulating stems or stylized tentacles which frame the rosette (Tzedakis 1971: pl. 524β, 528α, γ; Godart & Tzedakis 1992: pl. CXXVIII: 1, CXXX: 1). Finally, a very comparable example in shape and decoration comes from Episkopi-Ierapetra (Kanta 1980: fig. 131:2, top left). It has a globular shape and the decoration consists of a “big rosette with a double outline from which the tentacles project in three tiers” (Kanta 1980: 155). A. Kanta has noticed that this hybrid motive where a rosette substitutes the body of the octopus is “peculiar to the Chania workshop” (Kanta 1980: 155). The rosette remains a common pattern on small globular stirrup jars in the LM IIIC period (Kanta 1980: 256, 304-307, fig. 50:7; Popham 1967: pl. 89f). It should be noticed that the rosette motive depicted in such a style is not unknown in the preceding Neopalatial period as shown by a LM IB fine decorated cylinder-necked jug found at Palaikastro (Bosanquet & Dawkins 1923: pl. XVIIIb).

10When it especially adorns the LM IIIB1 Khaniote small globular stirrup jar the octopus decoration generally covers a large part of the belly zone and is often shown in its complete form, which means an octopus body and head surrounded by either thick tentacles framed by a thin line or two or three superimposed regular undulating thin lines (Tzedakis 1969: fig. 14; Hallager 2011: 299, n. 346, n. 348, n. 350, pl. 98, 154c: 1 [84-P 0390]). Small fine globular LM IIIB stirrup jars decorated with the octopus and found on other Cretan sites can be recognized as Khaniote imports on the basis of their whitish fabric and/or stylistic features, such as the following examples from Armenoi (Tzedakis 1970: pl. 418ε; Kanta 1980: fig. 93:4-7), Knossos (Popham 1964: pl. 10a-b; Kanta 1980: fig. 10:4-5), Malia (Farnoux & Driessen 1991: fig. 26 [Quartier Nu]), Kastelli-Pediada (Rethemiotakis 1997: fig. 2), Kritsa (Popham 1967: pl. 86c) and Gournia (Boyd Hawes 1908: fig. 25, pl. X: 2).

11Nevertheless, imitations of the small globular LM IIIB decorated stirrup jars made in the Kydonian Workshop may have existed, possibly made by other Khaniote (Hallager 2011: 376) but also Cretan regional workshops (see already Kanta 1980: 254). The latter is here suggested because of the discovery of two small fine stirrup jars decorated with octopus pattern found in rooms 4.11 and 4.15 in Building CD at Sissi (09-04-1609-OB001: Sissi II: 184, fig. 8.7c; 11-04-1789-OB001; fig. 7.5A-B) but also in Malia, Quartier Nu (fig. 7.5C). All three vessels are made in a soft buff to pinkish-buff fabric and decorated with orange-red to brown-red paint. The fabric of the Sissi vases does not correspond to the products of the Kydonian Workshop. Moreover, B. Hallager (pers. com. Nov. 2009) noticed that the way the octopus was drawn on 09-04-1609-OB001 was far from being characteristic for the Kydonian workshop. The other stirrup jar from Sissi (11-04-1789-OB001) looks very different in decoration as the stylized and linear octopus is rendered in a very clumsy manner. A similar behavior is noticeable on a stirrup jar from Episkopi-Ierapetra (Kanta 1980: fig. 60:12). Several small decorated stirrup jars imported from Khania have been found in tombs of the area of Episkopi (Kanta 1980: 154-156) but this vase has been interpreted as a probable local imitation of those (Kanta 1980: 254). The palm motive depicted on the opposite face of 11-04-1789-OB001 is a usual motive on the larnakes from the same Episkopi region (Kanta 1980: fig. 63: 4) or on larnakes from the Rethymnon and Amari Valley regions (e. g. Sata; Prokopiou, Godart & Tzigounaki 1990: pl. 34down). The combination of the octopus and palm motives on the belly of a small stirrup jar is illustrated on a vase from an unknown provenance conserved in the Ashmolean Museum (Kanta 1980: 254, fig. 96:4). The style of the decoration is however different and more carefully executed than on the Sissi vessel. Its fabric suggests an east Cretan product to A. Kanta (1980: 254). The Maliot stirrup jar shows a light buff fabric and a rather finely painted decoration. The latter is composed by two opposite octopuses whose tentacles join on both sides of the vase. The tentacles are uniformly figured by a group of six thin wavy lines framed by dots. The not particularly whitish colour of the clay and the style and depiction of the decoration do not tend towards a proper Kydonian Workshop product while this is not totally excluded (B. Hallager, pers. com., Feb. 2012). Indeed, a stirrup jar found in a tomb of the cemetery at Armenoi shows a very similar decoration and style (Tzedakis 1971: pl. 525ε). It is painted with the same groups of five or six wavy lines framed by dots or not and joining on both sides of two opposite octopuses. This vase has been presented in a group of stirrup jars from Armenoi which include Kydonian workshop products even if it is not explicitly and individually recognized as such (Hallager 2011: 300, n. 372). It should be noticed that another small decorated squat stirrup jar found at Sissi in 2008 depicts the same groups of wavy thin lines framed by dots in the decorative zone located below the spout (08-03-0482-OB001: Sissi I: 173, fig. 9.15 top left). The central motive surrounded by these wavy lines is completely erased but could have originally been the body of an octopus. This vase, made in a particularly whitish fabric and also decorated on the shoulder with elaborate triton shell motives, has been presented as a very probable Khaniote import (Sissi I: 173). Finally, it is worth noting that the decoration of four of these five small decorated stirrup jars from Sissi, Malia and Armenoi shows the particularity of dotted lines framing the tentacles or the body of the octopus. This feature is generally considered as a late LM IIIB characteristic. It is then not excluded that at least some of these vases are “provincial” imitations of the Kydonian Workshop products which would have substituted for the possible diminution of their production and exportation in the second half of the LM IIIB period.

Fig. 7.5. THREE LM IIIB SMALL GLOBULAR DECORATED STIRRUP JARS. A. BUILDING CD, ROOM 4.11. (09-04-1609-OB001) (CHR. PAPANIKOLOPOULOS). B. BUILDING CD, ROOM 4.15 (11-04-1789-OB001) (CHR. PAPANIKOLOPOULOS). C. MALIA, QUARTIER NU, EAST OF X18 (93.0532.003) (J. DRIESSEN; PH. COLLET)

12A monochrome deep bowl was found with the two small globular stirrup jars in the destruction deposit on the floor of room 4.15. (D. rim 0.14; 11-04-1779-OB003; fig. 7.6). It has an orange fabric and a dark brown monochrome surface treatment. The shape of the lower body is almost conical with an upright upper part and a slightly everted rim. It has a flat base and two horizontal handles round in section. Usually the LM IIIB1/Early deep bowls show a globular shape with an upright profile and a straight or slightly everted rim, while the S-profile and the flaring rim are novelties of LM IIIB2/Late deep bowls (Hallager 2003: 205, 208; Hallager 2011: 285-286, 288-289; Hatzaki 2007: 239, fig. 6.27:1-2). The shape of the present example is quite similar to a very large decorated LM IIIB Early Knossian example from the Little Palace (D. rim 0.22; Popham 1970: pl. 50b; Hatzaki 2005: fig. 4.31.6), but especially to a deep bowl in a brown fabric, plain or monochrome painted, found at Malia, Quartier Lambda, in the “Maison à la Cave au Pilier” (D. rim: 0, 16: van Effenterre & van Effenterre 1969: 127, pl. LXIV: 59) dated to LM IIIB1/Early (Hallager 2011: 289). Another monochrome deep bowl of a different shape with a globular profile, straight walls, a slightly everted rim and a raised concave base was found in Building CD, room 3.1. and could belong to a later stage of LM IIIB (D. rim 0.14; 07-03-0419-OB008, Sissi I: 170, fig. 9.9).

Fig. 7.6. BUILDING CD, ROOM 4.15. LM IIIB MONOCHROME DEEP BOWL (11-04-1779-OB003) (CHR. PAPANIKOLOPOULOS)

  • 4 A LM IIIB1 Khaniote deep bowl decorated with Light-on-Dark motives is very similar in shape to the (...)

13LM IIIB monochrome deep bowls have been found at Palaikastro (LM IIIB Middle/Late: MacGillivray et al. 1987: 146, fig. 6:7), Petras (LM IIIB: Tsipopoulou 1997: 228, fig. 27 [90.34.3]; parallels are given with monochrome shallow and not deep bowls), Mochlos (LM IIIB: Smith 2010: 52-53, IIB. 466, fig. 16, pl. 8), Kommos (LM IIIB Early: Watrous 1992: 85-86, 90, 142, n° 1484, 1486, 1579, fig. 56, pl. 26, pl. 40), Khania (LM IIIB1: Hallager 2011: 286, pl. 94, 170b: 1 [82-P 1706])4.

14The analysis of this selected pottery assemblage from the primary deposits found in the adjacent rooms 3.5 and 4.15 of Building CD may point to a LM IIIB Early destructive event in this western wing of the complex. This is plausibly corroborated by other primary destruction deposits found elsewhere in the building (Sissi I: 169-174, Sissi II: 177-184). Still, it has become obvious that the primary deposits uncovered on the floors of the respective rooms of Building CD are not all contemporary. This is suggested by a preliminary analysis of the pottery but also by the architectural phasing of Building CD, with evidence for the blocking of certain rooms, limiting the last occupation phase to the central part of the building (Gaignerot, this volume) while some of the peripheral rooms are abandoned with their destruction deposits left in place. A full study of architectural and stratigraphical phasing and ceramic assemblages of the building is needed to assess and detail this hypothesis. In the present state of knowledge some pottery collected on the floors of three internal rooms may suggest a more advanced LM IIIB phase: the monochrome dark deep bowl from room 3.1 (Sissi I: 170, fig. 9.9), the panelled-pattern bell krater from room 3.3 (Sissi II: 172, fig. 9.12a), and perhaps the cultic assemblage from room 3.8 (Sissi II: 89, 92, fig. 5.7-5.9), associated with several transport vessels among which is a plain globular stirrup jar with a wide flat base (Sissi II: 181-182, fig. 8.3). This last shape also suggests a later stage of LM IIIB (Kanta 1980: 250) or even a LM IIIC date (Kanta 1980: 173, fig. 66:9 [Tourloti], 181, fig. 68:3 [Praisos-Photoula], 250, fig. 28:1 [Episkopi-Pedhiadhos]). It is of particular interest that another globular stirrup jar with a wide flat base, complete and unbroken, was found in room 4.7, a peripheral north room probably blocked in the last stage of occupation of Building CD (09-04-1639-OB001: Sissi II: 112, fig. 5.38). The precise location of this vase in the stratigraphy of the room is noteworthy. It was found at the very beginning of the excavation of this area, just below the modern surface as it rested above the tumble which covered the last floor level of room 4.7. Stirrup jars with a similar profile with the same horizontal banding decoration on the body have been found in a LM IIIB context at Palaikastro (MacGillivray et al. 1987: 143, pl. 23b), at Mochlos, where it is considered as a Palaikastro import (Smith 2010: 86, IIB. 695, fig. 48, pl. 18), and at Malia, Quartier Epsilon (Deshayes & Dessenne 1959: 130, pl. XLVI: 11) and Quartier Lambda, in the “Maison de la Façade à Redans” (van Effenterre & van Effenterre 1969: 101, pl. LIV: 115). In general, these different contexts involving a globular stirrup jar with a wide flat base may shed some light on the final and perhaps limited LM IIIB occupation of the related settlements.

3. Building F

15A broken mug rhyton (11-06-4036-OB001; Jusseret, this volume, fig. 7.7) was found in the upper part of a test opened between Spaces 6.6 and 6.7 in Building F. Shaped like a large cup with concave walls, it has a vertical handle with oval section. It is made in a fine buff fabric and decorated in red-brown to dark-brown paint with repeated whorl triton shells. The latter punctuate the body zone and are framed by groups of three thin horizontal bands at the base and on the internal and external rim. The decoration points to a LM IIIB date as the whorl shell motive is often presented as a good chronological indicator very probably inspired by the LH IIIB1 Mainland (Watrous 1997: 186; Hatzaki 2007: 245). A similar pierced vessel made in a similar buff fabric and with comparable dimensions (H. c. 0.10-0.11; D. of the opening slightly wider than the D. at base) and decorated with the same groups of three thin bands at the base and rim but only with a thick horizontal band at mid-body had already been found in room 3.3 of Building CD (08-03-0460-OB001; Sissi I: 173, fig. 9.14. 1st from left, published upside down). This shape finds comparisons at other LM IIIB sites such as Amnissos (Schäfer 1992: pl. 41:3), Malia, Quartier Nu (J. Driessen, A. Farnoux, pers. com.), Gouves, Building K (Vallianou: 240, fig. top right), or Knossos (Popham 1964: pl. 7a-b). Not far from the rhyton and also in the same room 6.7, south of wall F1, was found a much damaged squat stirrup jar in 2008, also datable to LM IIIB (08-06-2002-OB002; Sissi I: 176, fig. 9.20). Although the painted decoration has largely vanished and the vase is very broken, the original decoration must have been rather fine. Both these restorable vases suggest the original existence of primary (?destruction) LM IIIB deposits in Building F, extremely disturbed and damaged however by the erosion of the slope and the proximity of the modern surface.

Fig. 7.7. BUILDING F, TEST OPENED BETWEEN SPACES 6.6. AND 6.7. LM IIIB MUG RHYTON (11-06-4036-OB001) (CHR. PAPANIKOLOPOULOS)

  • 5 I warmly thank J. Rutter for sharing with me his observations on this specific vessel.

16At the other extremity of Building F, in Space 6.4.2, an exceptional fine decorated stirrup jar was found in 2010 (10-06-2084-OB001; Sissi II: 168, fig. 7.7.-7.8) (fig. 7.8 A & B). It seems to belong to a primary floor deposit caught beneath fallen rubble. It is made in a fine buff fabric, slipped in light buff and decorated with a dark brown paint, today much vanished. It shows a ring base and an ovoid-biconical profile (FS 175) (max. D. 0.18). The style and arrangement of the elaborate decoration on the shoulder and at the body zone seem to point to a Minoan product. Indeed, a panel of cross-hatching on the shoulder opposite the spout, elaborate triangles with concentric arcs between the handles and spout, dot rosette fills in all four quadrants of the shoulder, and the handle and disc decoration are all features which are alien to Mycenaean LH IIIB stirrup jars5. Four groups of thin and thick bands order the body zone while a frieze of flowers is depicted below the shoulder, above the banding set at maximum diameter. This type of Minoan flowers is also seen on LM IIIB deep bowls from Knossos (Popham 1970: 199, pl. 52a) and Kommos (Watrous 1992: 69, fig. 44 [1155]), for example. Another ovoid-biconical stirrup jar with a ring base and made in a similar fabric was already found at Sissi in room 4.11 of complex CD (09-04-0757-OB001; Sissi II: 183, fig. 8.7b). It presents a similar decorative frieze set on the belly zone below the shoulder. The area around the spout and handles is decorated with two Minoan stemmed flowers, similar to those which punctuate the frieze of 10-06-2084-OB001. From the evidence at Khania, B. Hallager noticed that “decorated belly zones rarely appear on Minoan stirrup jars, as opposed to Mycenaean, and they seem to be a late LM IIIB feature” (Hallager 2003: 217, n. 226). If this impression is correct, further study of the stratigraphic and ceramic data will need to decide if Building F knew two distinct LM IIIB occupation phases.

  • 6 The settlement of Mochlos seems to be in decline by LM IIIB when only five of the thirteen LM III h (...)

17This short overview of Late Minoan IIIB pottery found at Sissi shows the important consumption of fine decorated stirrup jars within the settlement, and not exclusively in the vast and important top-hill Building CD, as the examples recovered from Building F on the south slope indicate. On the contrary, the last destruction deposits from Building E, dated to the end of LM IIIA2 or the very beginning of LM IIIB, lack clearly datable LM IIIB pottery. The LM IIIB complex of Quartier Nu at Malia has revealed the same profusion of LM IIIB fine decorated small stirrup jars with squat, globular or ovoid-biconical profiles (J. Driessen, A. Farnoux, pers. com.). On the other hand, the excavations of the houses of the LM IIIA2-IIIB coastal settlement at Mochlos further east did not yield any substantial number of finely decorated stirrup jars, although the tombs on the hill of Limenaria to the south of the settlement contained a good number of such vessels, with different origins and of both LM IIIA2 and LM IIIB date (Smith 2005: 198-202; Smith 2010: 84-93)6. The LM IIIB period seems to be one of apogee at Sissi when the site is connected to the wider prestige economy by external ceramic exchanges as shown by the imported small decorated stirrup jars and other small containers of hypothetical high-valued contents (see also Sissi I: 171, fig. 9.10, 173, fig. 9.15, 176, fig. 9.20, Sissi II: 183-184, fig. 8.4, 187-188, fig. 8.7b-d).

Fig. 7.8. BUILDING F, SPACE 6.4.2. FINE DECORATED LM IIIB OVOID-BICONICAL STIRRUP JAR (10-06-2084-OB001) (A. CHR. PAPANIKOLOPOULOS; B. H. JORIS)

Bibliographie

4. References

▪ Barnard & Brogan 2011 = K. Barnard & T. M. Brogan, Pottery of the Late Neopalatial Periods at Mochlos, in T. M. Brogan & E. Hallager (eds), LM IB Pottery. Relative chronology and regional differences. Acts of a workshop held at the Danish Institute at Athens in collaboration with the INSTAP Study Center for East Crete, 27–29 June 2007 (Monographs of the Danish Institute at Athens 11), vol. II, Athens, 2011, 427-450.

▪ Betancourt 1999 = P. P. Betancourt, The Pottery, in P. P. Betancourt & C. Davaras (eds), Pseira IV. Minoan Buildings in Areas B, C, D, and F (University Museum Monograph 105), Philadelphia, 1999, 141-154.

▪ Betancourt 2011 = P. P. Betancourt, Pottery at Pseira in LM IB, in T. M. Brogan & E. Hallager (eds), LM IB Pottery. Relative chronology and regional differences. Acts of a workshop held at the Danish Institute at Athens in collaboration with the INSTAP Study Center for East Crete, 27–29 June 2007 (Monographs of the Danish Institute at Athens 11), vol. II, Athens, 2011, 401-412.

▪ Bosanquet & Dawkins 1923 = R. C. Bosanquet & R. M. Dawkins, The Unpublished Objects from the Palaikastro Excavations 1902-1906 (BSA Supplementary Paper I), London, 1923.

▪ Boyd Hawes 1908 = H. Boyd Hawes et al., Gournia, Vassiliki and Others Prehistoric Sites on the Isthmus of Hierapetra, Philadelphia, 1908.

▪ Brogan & Smith 2011 = T. M. Brogan & R. A. K. Smith, The Mochlos Region in the LM III Period, in J. S. Soles et al. (eds), Mochlos IIC. Period IV. The Mycenaean Settlement and Cemetery. The Human Remains and Other Finds (Prehistory Monographs 32), Philadelphia, 2011, 149-161.

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▪ Hallager 2011 = B. P. Hallager, The Late Minoan IIIB: 1 and IIIA: 2 Pottery, in E. Hallager & B. P. Hallager (eds), The Greek-Swedish Excavations at the Agia Aikaterini Square, Kastelli, Khania. 1970-1987 and 2001. The Late Minoan IIIB: 1 and IIIA: 2 Settlements, vol. IV, Stockholm, 2011, 273-380.

▪ Hallager & Hallager 2003 = E. Hallager & B. P. Hallager (eds), The Greek-Swedish Excavations at the Agia Aikaterini Square, Kastelli, Khania. 1970-1987 and 2001. The Late Minoan IIIB: 2 Settlement, vol. III, Stockholm, 2003.

▪ Hallager & Hallager 2011 = E. Hallager & B.P. Hallager (eds), The Greek-Swedish Excavations at the Agia Aikaterini Square, Kastelli, Khania. 1970-1987 and 2001. The Late Minoan IIIB: 1 and IIIA: 2 Settlements, vol. IV, Stockholm, 2011.

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Notes

2 In 2011, the processing of the archaeological material and the strewing of the pottery was carried out in the Apothiki of the French School at Malia, with the assistance of Drs F. Liard (UCL) and I. Kritikopoulos (Univ. Toronto). The pottery and other artefacts were conserved by A. Nikakis and drawn by Drs H. Joris (Univ. Hasselt). Chr. Papanikolopoulos (INSTAP) took the photographs. For preliminary reports on the Minoan pottery found at Sissi, see Sissi I: 163-178 and Sissi II: 179-210. I would like to thank Jan Driessen and Alexandre Farnoux for allowing me to refer to two vases from their excavations of Quartier Nu at Malia (French School at Athens).

3 As such, the small Khaniote globular or squat stirrup jar is a valuable chronological marker, as shown by the chronological distribution of this specific shape at Khania, at the Agia Aikaterini Square: two in LM IIIA2, 33 in LM IIIB1, 39 in LM IIIB1/2, 12 in LM IIIB2 (Hallager & Hallager 2003: table 6; Hallager & Hallager 2011: table 12).

4 A LM IIIB1 Khaniote deep bowl decorated with Light-on-Dark motives is very similar in shape to the Sissi vase (Godart & Tzedakis 1992: pl. XXX: 2).

5 I warmly thank J. Rutter for sharing with me his observations on this specific vessel.

6 The settlement of Mochlos seems to be in decline by LM IIIB when only five of the thirteen LM III houses remained inhabited (Brogan & Smith 2011: 152).

Table des illustrations

Légende Fig. 7.1. OPEN AREA BETWEEN BUILDINGS CD AND E, NEOPALATIAL FILLS AGAINST THE WESTERN TERRACE WALL. SEVERAL JOINING PIECES OF A FINELY DECORATED LM IA VESSEL, CURVE-STEMMED IVY PATTERN (11-05-1959) (CHR. PAPANIKOLOPOULOS)
URL http://books.openedition.org/pucl/docannexe/image/2902/img-1.jpg
Fichier image/jpeg, 120k
Légende Fig. 7.2. BUILDING CD, ROOM 3.5. LM IIIB THREE-HANDLED STRAIGHT-SIDED ALABASTRON (11-03-0589-OB005) (CHR. PAPANIKOLOPOULOS)
URL http://books.openedition.org/pucl/docannexe/image/2902/img-2.jpg
Fichier image/jpeg, 116k
Légende Fig. 7.3. MALIA, QUARTIER NU, ROOM X7. LM IIIB STRAIGHT-SIDED SPOUTED ALABASTRON (91.1507.002) (COURTESY A. FARNOUX & J. DRIESSEN)
URL http://books.openedition.org/pucl/docannexe/image/2902/img-3.jpg
Fichier image/jpeg, 104k
Légende Fig. 7.4. BUILDING CD, ROOM 4.15. SMALL LM IIIB GLOBULAR DECORATED STIRRUP JAR (11-04-1789-OB009) (CHR. PAPANIKOLOPOULOS)
URL http://books.openedition.org/pucl/docannexe/image/2902/img-4.jpg
Fichier image/jpeg, 152k
Légende Fig. 7.5. THREE LM IIIB SMALL GLOBULAR DECORATED STIRRUP JARS. A. BUILDING CD, ROOM 4.11. (09-04-1609-OB001) (CHR. PAPANIKOLOPOULOS). B. BUILDING CD, ROOM 4.15 (11-04-1789-OB001) (CHR. PAPANIKOLOPOULOS). C. MALIA, QUARTIER NU, EAST OF X18 (93.0532.003) (J. DRIESSEN; PH. COLLET)
URL http://books.openedition.org/pucl/docannexe/image/2902/img-5.jpg
Fichier image/jpeg, 240k
Légende Fig. 7.6. BUILDING CD, ROOM 4.15. LM IIIB MONOCHROME DEEP BOWL (11-04-1779-OB003) (CHR. PAPANIKOLOPOULOS)
URL http://books.openedition.org/pucl/docannexe/image/2902/img-6.jpg
Fichier image/jpeg, 64k
Légende Fig. 7.7. BUILDING F, TEST OPENED BETWEEN SPACES 6.6. AND 6.7. LM IIIB MUG RHYTON (11-06-4036-OB001) (CHR. PAPANIKOLOPOULOS)
URL http://books.openedition.org/pucl/docannexe/image/2902/img-7.jpg
Fichier image/jpeg, 100k
Légende Fig. 7.8. BUILDING F, SPACE 6.4.2. FINE DECORATED LM IIIB OVOID-BICONICAL STIRRUP JAR (10-06-2084-OB001) (A. CHR. PAPANIKOLOPOULOS; B. H. JORIS)
URL http://books.openedition.org/pucl/docannexe/image/2902/img-8.jpg
Fichier image/jpeg, 359k

Auteur

Postdoctoral fellow F. R. S.-FNRS (UCL-INCAL-CEMA-AegIS).

© Presses universitaires de Louvain, 2012

Conditions d’utilisation : http://www.openedition.org/6540