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Multidisciplinary approaches to food and foodways in the medieval Eastern Mediterranean

Sylvie Yona Waksman

Byzantium and beyond

Ceramic vessels and food consumption

Chalcis as a major production and distribution center in the Byzantine and Frankish periods

Nikos D. Kontogiannis et Stefania S. Skartsis


The goal of this paper is to combine the results of long-term archaeological research in central Greece for the period between the 9th and the 15th century with the chemical and typological reports concerning the local ceramic production of Chalcis. We present a model of thought that integrates ceramic typology with agricultural management, food production and food consumption. We also discuss the extent to which changes in diet and dining habits could be discerned through our material.

Note de l’éditeur

In collaboration with : Giannis Vaxevanis [contributor], Hellenic Ministry of Culture and Sports, Ephorate of Antiquities of Euboea, Athenon Avenue, Chalkida, Greece, Sylvie Yona Waksman [contributor], CNRS, UMR 5138 “Archéologie et Archéométrie”, Maison de l’Orient et de la Méditerranée, 7 rue Raulin, 69365 Lyon cedex 7, France,

Texte intégral


1This paper focuses on the pottery from Byzantine and Venetian Chalcis in Euboea (known as Euripos in the former period and as Negroponte in the latter), on material that roughly covers the 9th to the 15th century. The goal is to understand how the various types of pottery coming from archaeological contexts (their shapes, wares, sizes, and even decoration) could have been related to the food chain, from the production and transport of foodstuffs to their commercialization in ceramic containers, to the preparation and consumption of diverse meals.

2Within its historical framework, pottery can be examined both as a utilitarian adjunct to the transport and consumption of food, and as a commodity: why and how it was marketed as part of the changing economic environment in each period, and to what degree it followed prevalent trends in form and decoration in order to obtain commercial value. Although the focus of this paper is concerned mainly with the utilitarian character of pottery and its implications for everyday life, these cannot be addressed without consideration of their connection to the economic activity of their particular period.

  • 1 Such as Afrati (Papanikola-Bakirtzi 1999, pp. 32, 42, no. 11, 26), Mytikas (Bedermacher-Geroussi 2 (...)
  • 2 This group falls under the generic category of “unglazed incised ware” see for example Vroom 2003, (...)

3Our primary evidence consists mainly of tableware and food containers. This material has been provided by many rescue excavations conducted by the Greek Archaeological Service at various times from the 1960s onwards, located within and outside the fortified city of Chalcis (Triantafyllopoulos 1990; Kontogiannis 2012, pp. 32‑34, 38‑39, 45, with previous bibliography), as well as at a few rural sites in Euboea.1 The study of this pottery can now take into account the published results of archaeometric (chemical and residue) analyses, both for glazed tableware of the 12th to the 13th century (fig. 1d‑i) (Waksman et al. 2014) and for amphorae dating from the 10th to the 13th century (fig. 2c-e) (Waksman et al. 2018; Pecci et al., in this volume). To these can be added an important group of locally produced unglazed pottery with incised decoration,2 here presented for the first time and roughly dated to the 10th-11th centuries (fig. 3).

Fig. 1 – Glazed tableware: (a-c) Imported, 9th-11th century; (d‑i) Local, 12th-13th century.

Fig. 1 – Glazed tableware: (a-c) Imported, 9th-11th century; (d‑i) Local, 12th-13th century.

Fig. 2 – (a-b) Unglazed tableware, 9th-11th century; (c‑d) Local amphorae 10th-11th century; (e) Amphorae in situ, 12th-13th century; (f) Middle Byzantine armeos.

Fig. 2 – (a-b) Unglazed tableware, 9th-11th century; (c‑d) Local amphorae 10th-11th century; (e) Amphorae in situ, 12th-13th century; (f) Middle Byzantine armeos.

Fig. 3 – Local unglazed Incised Ware, 9th-11th century.

Fig. 3 – Local unglazed Incised Ware, 9th-11th century.

4In order to understand how pottery production became integrated into the matrix of food production, transport and consumption, we first need to visualize the city as part of the complex socio-economic and historical structure that was established during the Middle Byzantine period in central Greece (9th-12th century), and then transformed in the following Frankish/Venetian period (13th-15th century).

5The discussion that follows examines the evidence for the production and marketing of tableware, transport containers and common wares in each historical period; it concludes with a consideration of the use of pottery in the wider realm of food processing and consumption, based upon the archaeological record in central Greece.

Historical overview

6Our image of the city has changed considerably in recent years. Former studies considered Byzantine Chalcis to have been a minor provincial town, serving as a trading and naval station, a situation that became greatly altered during the Frankish/Venetian period, when it was turned into an international maritime center (Koder 1973, pp. 43‑61; Koder & Hild 1976, p. 156; Moschonas 2006, pp. 157‑161).

7Recent research has replaced this view with another, that Chalcis was already a major production and commercial center from the 10th century onwards, and contributed to the general economic growth of the province through a dense network of financial and manufacturing activities (Waksman et al. 2014, pp. 415‑417; 2018). This growth coincided or was directly affected by the new strategic role attributed to the city by the central authority, the most obvious manifestation of which was the relocation of the settlement from its earlier site to the crossing point of the Euripos channel (Kontogiannis 2012, p. 33). This probably took place in the early 9th century and established Chalcis as an effective checkpoint for naval circulation in the western Aegean and as the seaport of Thebes, the capital of the Theme of Hellas. In this way the reorganization of provincial administration went hand in hand with the intensification of economic networks. These networks were not always restricted to the regional scale; many of the local agricultural and industrial products circulated widely and reached internal markets throughout the empire and vice versa, i.e., products from other regions circulated locally.

8Furthermore, according to our evidence, commercial interactions had acquired a new dynamic in around the late 11th century, which persisted up to at least the middle 13th century (see below). Historical accounts acknowledge this as an era of prosperity, with economic and demographic growth for the city (Malamut 1988, pp. 141, 346, 357).

9From 1204 onwards, the wide political changes brought about by the Fourth Crusade eventually led to the administrative separation of Chalcis from Thebes, both of which preserved their fairly prosperous economic conditions.

10From then on, Chalcis, which was by this time fully integrated within the Venetian maritime network, acquired a key role in international commerce, following progressively the norms and administrative models of the Serenissima. In the last years of this period, which ended with the Ottoman conquest of 1470, we may discern in the city patterns of commercial, financial and social mobility which were similar to many other Mediterranean centers, particularly the Italian (Papadia-Lala 2006; Moschonas 2006).

11Rescue excavations have revealed parts of this densely inhabited fortified settlement, with no apparent rupture between the Middle Byzantine and the Frankish/Venetian period. A grid of narrow streets was characteristically dominated by domestic complexes and religious foundations. Evidence of intense and continuous building activity was revealed in excavated and standing structures alike (such as the Dominican Basilica – mod. Ayia Paraskevi – and the so-called Bailo House). A series of suburbs developed outside the walled settlement, obviously serving a surplus of population or activities deemed better suited to such areas (Kontogiannis 2012, pp. 33‑34, 42‑45).


12Our evidence for the 9th-11th centuries, as presented below, indicates that the local market was experiencing a relative self-sufficiency in regionally made agricultural and industrial products, many of which were destined for export. The evidence also includes imports from other places in the empire, as well as high-value objects that would have come almost exclusively from the capital, Constantinople. This evidence indicates the existence of multi-layered commercial networks that supplied local markets with provisions of varied provenance, and suggests that the capital played a dominant role in shaping habits and tastes around the empire.

  • 3 A Constantinopolitan origin for these wares is substantiated by their abundance in the capital and (...)
  • 4 For similar pottery from Thebes, see Koilakou 2012.

13In the category of tableware, the products of quality used during this period consisted mainly of the Constantinopolitan3 high-quality polychrome and white ware variants in many forms and decorative patterns (fig. 1a-c).4 Among these are the polychrome shallow dishes; the one-handled and two-handled cups; the plain glazed dishes on tall or low pedestals (“fruit stands”), often bearing stamped medallions in the center; and the chafing dishes intended to keep the food warm on the table. There are also a few similar thick-walled chafing dishes in a red fabric (10th to late 11th century) of presently unknown origin.

  • 5 Similar to published specimens from Boeotia (Vroom 2003, p. 145; 2005, pp. 68‑69) and Crete (Poulo (...)
  • 6 For Thebes see for example Koilakou & Galani-Krikou 1993, p. 86, fig. 8. For rural sites in Boeoti (...)
  • 7 The analyses were carried out in Lyon (CNRS UMR 5138) as part of the POMEDOR project “People, pott (...)

14Besides these, we identified a large category of unglazed common vessels. These were used either on the table, for serving and transporting liquids, or for preparing and storing food. Besides a small group of jugs bearing shallow or deep vertical gouged stripes (fig. 2a-b),5 the majority of these vessels are unglazed with incised decoration (fig. 3). Their surfaces present decoration with simple linear designs or more elaborate floral motifs and even animal figures. They were exceptional for the sheer number and variety of finds in all rescue excavations from Chalcis; a large number also come from Thebes and its countryside.6 Based on recent results from chemical analyses, they can all now be safely identified as locally made in Chalcis workshops.7 This unglazed incised ware includes mainly jugs and jars, often similar to those that have been found in various other parts of the Byzantine Empire (from Thessaloniki in the north [e.g. Papanikola-Bakirtzi 1999, p. 17, fig. 1] to Crete in the south [Poulou-Papadimitriou 2011, p. 426, fig. 55]), as well as a variety of other shapes, such as small closed vessels and a terracotta box (fig. 3h). The fact that some of the local amphorae (fig. 2c‑d, see also below) carry similar incised decoration on their shoulders may indicate that they were produced in the same workshops or even by the same hand.

15In the case of the amphorae for storage and transport of agricultural goods, chemical analysis has verified the existence of two groups by provenance, both pertaining to the same common Byzantine type known as Günsenin IIa (fig. 2d). The largest group had a local provenance, while the second corresponds to another workshop, so far unidentified (Waksman et al. 2018).

  • 8 For Thebes, see especially Louvi-Kizi 2002; Koilakou 2013.

16For the 12th century, the archaeological evidence clearly reflects the vitality and prosperity of the regional economy, centered around the administrative capital Thebes.8 Intense economic activity led to exploitation of all the natural resources, and in the case of pottery, the clay beds of the Lelantine Plain in the area of Chalcis (Waksman et al. 2014, pp. 414‑415). The final products, whether agricultural or industrial, were distributed to the rest of the empire on a large scale through a dense and wide maritime network the extent of which is currently being investigated (Koutsouflakis, in this volume). Its pivotal point was the flourishing port of Chalcis.

17During this period, both white ware and amphorae imports disappeared from the local market. Glazed pottery took its place in the Aegean markets as high-end ceramic tableware (fig. 1d‑i). This included various categories, such as “Slip-Painted”, “Green & Brown Painted”, “Fine Sgraffito”, “Painted Sgraffito”, “Incised Sgraffito” and “Champlevé Ware”, which we currently consider not as individual productions, but as decorative patterns or groups produced either concurrently or consecutively in the area’s workshops. Within this context, Chalcis functioned as a key producer of the main “Middle Byzantine Production” (MBP) which encompasses all these categories (Waksman et al. 2014, p. 414). Beside the evidence of the clay, the continued use of incised decoration (now applied under a transparent lead glaze) indicates the probable persistence of tastes and habits.

18The same palpable continuation is also observed in the production of amphorae. All analyzed samples of this period, both from Chalcis and the wider region (including Thebes), were on the one hand uniformly made from local clay, and on the other hand belonged to the established type of the period, known as Günsenin III (fig. 2e). What is exceptional in this case is the presence of a group of “transitional forms” indicating the gradual passage from Günsenin II to Günsenin III as part of an active process that took place locally (Waksman et al. 2018).

19For the early 13th century, our evidence shows that the new political conditions following the dismantlement of the Byzantine Empire in 1204 did not directly affect production, manufacture process or distribution patterns. Rescue excavations in Chalcis and Thebes corroborate the evidence from other places, such as Corinth, that MBP ceramics (and perhaps also Günsenin III amphorae) remained in use until at least the middle of the 13th century (Waksman et al. 2014, p. 416). In the course of this period, along with the pottery types of the previous century, the first imports of tableware occurred in Chalcis, belonging to a type of unknown origin called Zeuxippus Ware (fig. 5a).

20From the middle of the 13th century onwards and until the end of Venetian rule (1470), conditions appear to have strongly altered the city’s economic profile. When Chalcis became a vital port of call in Venetian international commerce, on the one hand the local market was provisioned from multiple sources along the trade routes, and on the other it was oriented towards the supply of both agricultural products and industrial commodities to the passing fleets. This intensified market activity reflected a particular status for the city, although equally important to that of the previous period.

21Evidence from the study of tableware during this period shows that the widely exported MBP pottery of the previous years was eventually abandoned, and was replaced by locally oriented production. Chalcis seems to have been transformed into a regional center for pottery production, following a similar tendency all over the Aegean. Many of the products from these regional workshops, which appeared in various parts of the former Byzantine territories, were similar in shape and decoration. This is particularly evident in the case of the bowls bearing sgraffito decoration with concentric circles (fig. 4a-b), whose known workshops ranged from Constantinople and northern Greece to Asia Minor, Sparta in the Peloponnese, and even northern Italy (see especially Waksman & François 2004-2005; Waksman et al. 2014, p. 415, with bibliography); a workshop producing fairly similar wares was also established in nearby Thebes (Waksman et al. 2014, pp. 415‑416). The popularity and diffusion of these products can probably be attributed to the unifying role of Venetian supremacy in maritime trade.

Fig. 4 – Local tableware, 13th-14th century: (a-b) Sgraffito with concentric circles; (c‑d) Late Sgraffito; (e) Partially glazed; (f) Unglazed; (g-h) Painted.

Fig. 4 – Local tableware, 13th-14th century: (a-b) Sgraffito with concentric circles; (c‑d) Late Sgraffito; (e) Partially glazed; (f) Unglazed; (g-h) Painted.
  • 9 For the local origin of the plain and partially glazed ware, see Waksman et al. 2014, pp. 403‑405. (...)

22However, in Chalcis itself we also discerned a number of other local classes or qualities depending on the decoration and surface treatment. Besides the higher-value vessels (fig. 4a-d) there is a series of plainer items, including partially glazed (fig. 4e), plain glazed, simple painted (fig. 4g-h) and unglazed vessels (fig. 4f).9

  • 10 For pieces similar to fig. 5b, see Waksman et al. 2009, p. 460, fig. 3c.
  • 11 Sgraffito pottery from Lemnos or from Constantinople has been found in Aliveri, see Dafi & Skartsi (...)

23Moreover, noteworthy for the Chalcis market in this period is the availability, besides the local products, of decorated wares of various origins, qualities and values from around the Mediterranean. The tableware imports come from Italy, including “Protomaiolica” (fig. 5f), “Archaic Maiolica”, “RMR ware”, “Veneto ware”, Renaissance Sgraffito (fig. 5g) (Skartsis & Vaxevanis 2017, pp. 601‑602, fig. 9, 10α-γ), as well as from Cyprus (Paphos area workshops, fig. 5e), western Anatolian and northern Aegean centers (fig. 5a-c), including Constantinople,10 Thessaloniki, Serres (fig. 5d), and Lemnos.11 In addition, the 14th-century imports also include pottery from Spain (fig. 5h), as well as a few items from Islamic lands (fig. 5i-j) (Skartsis & Vaxevanis 2017, pp. 601, 603, fig. 8γ, 10δ).

Fig. 5 – Imported tableware, 13th-15th century: (a) “Zeuxippus Ware”, unknown origin; (b) Constantinople or Thessaloniki; (c) Thessaloniki?; (d) Serres; (e) Paphos region; (f) Brindisi; (g) Venice; (h) Spain; (i) Asia Minor; (j) Syria or Egypt.

Fig. 5 – Imported tableware, 13th-15th century: (a) “Zeuxippus Ware”, unknown origin; (b) Constantinople or Thessaloniki; (c) Thessaloniki?; (d) Serres; (e) Paphos region; (f) Brindisi; (g) Venice; (h) Spain; (i) Asia Minor; (j) Syria or Egypt.

Foodstuffs and dining habits

24Pottery is directly connected to the production and consumption of food. The island of Euboea has a diverse landscape, with fertile valleys for agricultural exploitation, mountains for animal husbandry, and a coastline rich in seafood (Koder 1973, pp. 37‑39). This geographic variety indicates the availability of many types of food and their combination in the daily diet.

  • 12 For Hosios Loukas, see Stikas 1970, pp. 215‑218; for Mytikas, see Bedermacher-Geroussi 2012, p. 75

25Amphorae are traditionally considered to have been containers of oil and wine, the production of which is attested at a number of sites in Euboea and Boeotia. Two such cases have been investigated, an oil press at the Hosios Loukas complex (Boeotia), dating to the 11th century, and a wine press at Mytikas (Euboea) which operated in the 12th-13th century.12 Vineyards are also enumerated in the lists of properties recorded in the Cadaster of Thebes (Svoronos 1959, pp. 15, 18). In addition, analysis of residues in amphorae from Chalcis and Thebes demonstrates the use of these amphorae for the transport of fermented substances, probably wine or its derivatives, and possibly plant oils, which are sometimes detected in the same containers (Pecci et al., in this volume). This provides evidence for probable reuse of the amphorae. Analysis also detected animal products which may have been present either as contents or as components of the inner coating. This confirms the value of local products as trade commodities.

  • 13 For Thebes, see Louvi-Kizi 2002, p. 634; Vroom 2006; for Chalcis, see Skartsis et al., forthcoming
  • 14 For Panakton, see Gerstel et al. 2003; for Akraifnio, see Koilakou 1998, p. 108.

26Amphorae may have served to transport liquids and foodstuffs, but food storage both in cities and the countryside necessitated large pithoi, either ceramic or constructed. In Chalcis (as well as in nearby Thebes), it appears that shortly after pithoi went out of use, they were turned into cesspits.13 In the countryside they were found in small agricultural settlements (for examples in Boeotia, see the examples of Panakton and Akraifnion)14 along with iron farm tools, whose owners had been engaged in exploitation of the surrounding lands.

27As cereals were a basis of the Mediterranean diet, bread-making necessitated grinding of the grains. When ground cereals were produced in quantity, this would have involved windmill and watermill installations, rather than hand-powered devices. Fields and watermills are indeed included in the lists of properties enumerated in the Cadaster of Thebes (Svoronos 1959, pp. 11‑19). A watermill excavated in Thebes has been dated to the 9th-11th centuries. It belonged to the vertical overshot type, and was probably one of many operating on the shores of the Ismenos river (Koilakou 2004, pp. 229‑231; 2013, p. 183). At the end of the period studied here, around the 13th-14th centuries, all travelers visiting Chalcis marveled at the wondrous sea-mills installed directly upon the walls, driven by the power of the famous Euripos current, turning according to the movement of the waves (Kontogiannis 2012, pp. 42‑43).

28Apiculture played an important role in Byzantine life, although honey and wax (for candles) are mentioned in relatively few sources (Anagnostakis 2000, pp. 175‑178). More tangible evidence for this practice in central Greece comes in the form of ceramic beehives. Although they are usually dated to the Early Byzantine period, some of these objects have recently been re-dated to the Late Byzantine era (Albani 2001, pp. 89‑90, fig. 87).

  • 15 For examples of bowls from local excavations decorated with various animals, among which rabbits, (...)

29Animal bones uncovered in the excavations, often in large quantities, both within and outside the city walls of Chalcis, are evidence for the availability and consumption of pastoral products. Further analysis should shed light on animal husbandry and its role in the local economy and diet. In addition, examples of a ceramic vessel specifically destined for the milking of goats (known as armeos) have been found in rural settlements in nearby Boeotia (fig. 2f) (Koilakou 1998, p. 108, pl. 61d [Akraifnio]). The consistent depiction of rabbits on the local MBP ceramics, besides being a variant of a widely used motif, could also have been inspired by an actual food practice (fig. 1h).15

30Being a coastal settlement, Chalcis could also rely on seafood for the diet of its inhabitants, typical for the rich coastline of central Greece (Bourbou & Garvie-Lok 2015, pp. 189‑190). The written sources inform us that the island of Euboea was among the places where murex purpurea, the sea shell producing the famous purple dye, was collected and used in producing the silk fabrics of Thebes (Jacoby 1991-1992, p. 481); the veracity of this statement could be substantiated by the large deposits of murex shells located on another part of this coastline, at Thisbi/Kastorion, obviously intended for textile manufacture (Dunn 2006, pp. 46‑47, 53‑55; Koilakou 2013, p. 185).

31The discovery of large quantities of shellfish shells in a rubbish pit of the 13th-15th centuries in a plot outside the city walls indicates the importance of shellfish in the local diet (Bedermacher-Geroussi 2012, p. 74 [Mitropoleos 9]; Skartsis et al., forthcoming). It may be assumed that fishing was not restricted to procuring raw materials for the silk industry but was also practiced to provide food for local consumption.

  • 16 An exceptional bowl bearing the inscription “cheese” in Hebrew has been unearthed from the post-By (...)

32All the foods discussed above, as well as others that have left no visible remains (such as lentils and cheese)16 were processed and prepared to provide the rich diet of the inhabitants of Chalcis.

33Cooking pots have been uncovered in large quantities throughout the city, mostly discarded in cesspits after use. Further research will undoubtedly contribute to the ongoing discussion concerning the changes in eating habits and cooking techniques from the Byzantine to the Frankish period (Williams 2003, p. 432; Joyner 2007; Vroom 2011, pp. 421‑423).

34The discussion on eating and dining has been dealt with thus far in relation to changes observed in types of tableware (Papanikola-Bakirtzi 2005, p. 122; Vroom 2003, pp. 313‑333). For the 9th-11th centuries, the large open dishes with high feet are thought to have been intended for communal food consumption, the chafing dishes for keeping food warm, the small drinking cups and the unglazed jugs for serving liquids.

  • 17 For similar vessels from Thebes, see Papanikola-Bakirtzi 2002, pp. 327, 329, no. 364 (catalogue en (...)

35In the 12th century, when the predominant shapes were the large wide dish and the shallow bowl, the custom of communal dining appears to have persisted. However, these forms are different from those of the previous period (there are no chafing dishes or footed plates), and it is still open to discussion whether a change in the quality of the food occurred. Besides these, we distinguish only a few other shapes, such as cups, closed vessels for serving liquids, as well as a type consisting of two small joined cups (fig. 1d), which could have held condiments, such as salt, pepper and/or garlic, thus indicating their use in spicing food.17

36From the mid‑13th century to the mid‑15th century small deep bowls predominated, attributed to gradual changes probably brought about under western influence: a trend towards eating in smaller groups, and the consumption of more liquid dishes, such as meat stews. In the pottery material, besides the bowls there are a variety of table objects, including goblets, cups, and closed vessels for serving liquids.

Concluding remarks

37Food is part of the collective identity of a population, an integral factor of its culture. Throughout the process, from cultivation and collection of raw materials to transport, cooking and consumption, many kinds of ceramic vessels were used. Their types and shapes reflect the diversification, the complexity and the specific needs of the society they served. From the plain vessel used by a shepherd to milk his goats to the shiny, decorated exotic pieces adorning the tables of the upper classes, the wide spectrum demonstrates the cultural as well as the functional importance of pottery.

38The study of the Chalcis material, based on a combination of archaeological and archaeometric research, can be useful in determining the various functions ceramics were to serve. Local pottery, recently identified for the first time, can now be related to economic activity and its fluctuating growth from the 10th to the 15th century. The majority of the utilitarian vessels, intended for the everyday needs of the population, were produced in plain standardized forms, with no added decoration. Two local classes of artefacts, tableware and amphorae for transport, possessed for different reasons the status of established commodities, being at times widely exported. The importation of different vessels was facilitated in certain periods less by a lack of similar products than by the presence of a dense commercial network, a relative financial prosperity and a diversified market.

39These factors demonstrate that pottery and food may be seen as both strictly functional as well as outcomes of complex social and economic interrelations. In the case of Chalcis, with the help of recent scientific research, it has been possible to re-evaluate the material from older excavations and re-interpret the evidence in order to address questions which neither the potters, nor the users of the pottery, and probably not even the excavators, would have dreamed of asking.

Acknowledgements and credits

40The archaeometric analyses on which part of this study was based were carried out thanks to funding from the French National Research Agency (ANR) through the POMEDOR project “People, pottery and food in the medieval Eastern Mediterranean”, and we acknowledge the support of the ANR under reference ANR-12‑CULT-0008.

41We would also like to thank Dr P. Kalamara, director of the (former) 23rd Ephorate of Byzantine Antiquities (Euboea-Boeotia), for granting us the study and sampling permit.

42Illustrations: Archive of the Ephorate of Byzantine Antiquities of Euboea (former 23rd Ephorate of Byzantine Antiquities); drawings 2cii, 2dii, 3bii: E. Todorova; photos 2ci, 2di, 3a, 3bi, 3c, 3d, 3g: S.Y. Waksman.


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1 Such as Afrati (Papanikola-Bakirtzi 1999, pp. 32, 42, no. 11, 26), Mytikas (Bedermacher-Geroussi 2012, p. 75), Dokos (unpublished), Aliveri (Dafi & Skartsis 2015, pp. 709‑713).

2 This group falls under the generic category of “unglazed incised ware” see for example Vroom 2003, pp. 145‑147; 2005, pp. 70‑71.

3 A Constantinopolitan origin for these wares is substantiated by their abundance in the capital and by the availability of white, kaolinitic clays in its surroundings, but is still not supported by archaeological evidence from workshop contexts (see especially Hayes 1992; Waksman 2012).

4 For similar pottery from Thebes, see Koilakou 2012.

5 Similar to published specimens from Boeotia (Vroom 2003, p. 145; 2005, pp. 68‑69) and Crete (Poulou-Papadimitriou 2011, pp. 425‑426, fig. 54).

6 For Thebes see for example Koilakou & Galani-Krikou 1993, p. 86, fig. 8. For rural sites in Boeotia and eastern Phokis: Vroom 2003, pp. 145‑147; Armstrong 1989, no. 24, fig. 14, pl. 9.

7 The analyses were carried out in Lyon (CNRS UMR 5138) as part of the POMEDOR project “People, pottery and food in the medieval Eastern Mediterranean” directed by S.Y. Waksman. Sampling included specimens from both Chalcis and Thebes.

8 For Thebes, see especially Louvi-Kizi 2002; Koilakou 2013.

9 For the local origin of the plain and partially glazed ware, see Waksman et al. 2014, pp. 403‑405. Based on numismatic evidence, the latter first appeared during the 13th century (Skartsis & Vaxevanis 2017, p. 599, fig. 5στ-η; Skartsis et al. forthcoming).

10 For pieces similar to fig. 5b, see Waksman et al. 2009, p. 460, fig. 3c.

11 Sgraffito pottery from Lemnos or from Constantinople has been found in Aliveri, see Dafi & Skartsis 2015, p. 712, fig. 9στ-η.

12 For Hosios Loukas, see Stikas 1970, pp. 215‑218; for Mytikas, see Bedermacher-Geroussi 2012, p. 75.

13 For Thebes, see Louvi-Kizi 2002, p. 634; Vroom 2006; for Chalcis, see Skartsis et al., forthcoming.

14 For Panakton, see Gerstel et al. 2003; for Akraifnio, see Koilakou 1998, p. 108.

15 For examples of bowls from local excavations decorated with various animals, among which rabbits, see Papadakis 1975, pp. 294‑296, fig. 5‑9.

16 An exceptional bowl bearing the inscription “cheese” in Hebrew has been unearthed from the post-Byzantine context of a plot within the Chalcis walls, see Bedermacher-Geroussi 2012, pp. 73‑74, fig. 5.

17 For similar vessels from Thebes, see Papanikola-Bakirtzi 2002, pp. 327, 329, no. 364 (catalogue entry: Ch. Koilakou).

Table des illustrations

Titre Fig. 1 – Glazed tableware: (a-c) Imported, 9th-11th century; (d‑i) Local, 12th-13th century.
Fichier image/jpeg, 245k
Titre Fig. 2 – (a-b) Unglazed tableware, 9th-11th century; (c‑d) Local amphorae 10th-11th century; (e) Amphorae in situ, 12th-13th century; (f) Middle Byzantine armeos.
Fichier image/jpeg, 195k
Titre Fig. 3 – Local unglazed Incised Ware, 9th-11th century.
Fichier image/jpeg, 164k
Titre Fig. 4 – Local tableware, 13th-14th century: (a-b) Sgraffito with concentric circles; (c‑d) Late Sgraffito; (e) Partially glazed; (f) Unglazed; (g-h) Painted.
Fichier image/jpeg, 217k
Titre Fig. 5 – Imported tableware, 13th-15th century: (a) “Zeuxippus Ware”, unknown origin; (b) Constantinople or Thessaloniki; (c) Thessaloniki?; (d) Serres; (e) Paphos region; (f) Brindisi; (g) Venice; (h) Spain; (i) Asia Minor; (j) Syria or Egypt.
Fichier image/jpeg, 242k


Department of Archaeology and History of Art, Koç University, Rumelifeneri Yolu, 34450 Sariyer-Istanbul, Turkey,

Hellenic Ministry of Culture and Sports, Directorate of Byzantine and Post Byzantine Antiquities, Bouboulinas 20‑22, Athens 10682, Greece,

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