Minoan pottery studies have rarely devoted a specific attention to forming techniques and have usually done so in the context of researches aimed at assessing when rotational kinetic energy was first used in Crete. Social aspects of pottery production are addressed through the study of fabric which permitted several technological traditions to be identified among production groups that were located across the Island and sometimes even in the same region. Ethnographic research in Africa and Mesoamerica has instead demonstrated that it is forming techniques that reflect the most rooted and enduring aspects of a potter’s social and cultural identity, and that it is maintained through time and across space. This paper aims to address the potential of forming techniques to assess the cultural identity of specific production groups by using as a case study a particular category of multi-layered vessels made at Phaistos, in the Mesara plain, in the Prepalatial and Protopalatial period. It will focus on a peculiar technological practice of combining differently textured clays in the same vessel (labelled “layering”), and it will argue that this habit, which is counterproductive and risky, allowed potters to display their skill and acted as an “identity marker” that permanently linked vessels exhibiting this technique to their producers and suggests that forming technique was pivotal to the definition of the cultural identity of Minoan potters.

Forming techniques and cultural identity in Early and Middle Minoan Crete: multi-layered vessels from a pottery production area at Phaistos

SIMONA VENERA TODARO
2018

Abstract

Minoan pottery studies have rarely devoted a specific attention to forming techniques and have usually done so in the context of researches aimed at assessing when rotational kinetic energy was first used in Crete. Social aspects of pottery production are addressed through the study of fabric which permitted several technological traditions to be identified among production groups that were located across the Island and sometimes even in the same region. Ethnographic research in Africa and Mesoamerica has instead demonstrated that it is forming techniques that reflect the most rooted and enduring aspects of a potter’s social and cultural identity, and that it is maintained through time and across space. This paper aims to address the potential of forming techniques to assess the cultural identity of specific production groups by using as a case study a particular category of multi-layered vessels made at Phaistos, in the Mesara plain, in the Prepalatial and Protopalatial period. It will focus on a peculiar technological practice of combining differently textured clays in the same vessel (labelled “layering”), and it will argue that this habit, which is counterproductive and risky, allowed potters to display their skill and acted as an “identity marker” that permanently linked vessels exhibiting this technique to their producers and suggests that forming technique was pivotal to the definition of the cultural identity of Minoan potters.
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Utilizza questo identificativo per citare o creare un link a questo documento: http://hdl.handle.net/20.500.11769/362017
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