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CHICKEN OR EGG? RETHINKING THE RELATIONSHIP BETWEEN THE SILVER AND TINNED CERAMIC VESSEL ASSEMBLAGES

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  13 February 2018

S. Aulsebrook*
Affiliation:
Independent Researcher

Abstract

Since the 1960s, when the existence of tinned ceramic vessels in the Late Bronze Age Aegean was first recognised, our knowledge of this phenomenon and the catalogue of known examples have expanded significantly. Even before the nature of these objects was fully understood, scholars had suggested that their primary purpose was to imitate metal, particularly silver, vessels. Several silver vessel assemblages, including one from the tholos at Kokla, have been singled out for their perceived special relationship with tinned ceramics. However, closer analysis of tinned vessels has suggested that they were less similar to silver vessels than previously thought, especially in terms of their range of forms, details of shape and even colour. Recent scholarship has also emphasised that the concept of imitation is very complex and its investigation requires a more nuanced approach. Yet references to tinned vessels as straightforward imitations of, or even substitutes for, silver vessels remain common. In 2014, an opportunity arose to examine the Kokla silver vessels in greater detail. A strong connection between the Kokla group and tinned vessels is evident, although this does not mean that the latter depended upon assemblages such as the former for inspiration. The unique features of the Kokla group suggest it may have been a local innovation to emulate the usage of tinned vessels while simultaneously stressing the higher social status of its users. This paper concludes that situating tinned vessels within the ceramic tradition and thus regarding them as an enhanced form of ceramic, rather than an inferior form of metal vessel, better explains the nature of this phenomenon.

Η Κότα ή το Αυγό; Αναθεωρώντας τη Σχέση μεταξύ Συνόλων Αργυρών και Επικασσιτερωμένων Κεραμικών Αγγείων.

Από τη δεκαετία του 1960, όταν πρωτοαναγνωρίσθηκε η ύπαρξη επικασσιτερωμένων κεραμικών αγγείων στην Ύστερη Εποχή του Χαλκού, η γνώση μας αυτού του φαινομένου και ο κατάλογος των γνωστών παραδειγμάτων επεκτάθηκε σημαντικά. Ακόμα και πριν γίνει πλήρως κατανοητή η φύση αυτών των αντικειμένων, ερευνητές είχαν προτείνει ότι η πρωταρχική τους χρήση ήταν να μιμηθούν μετάλλινα αγγεία, ιδιαίτερα αργυρά. Αρκετά σύνολα αργυρών αγγείων, συμπεριλαμβανομένου ενός συνόλου από το θολωτό τάφο στον Κόκλα, έχουν επιλεχθεί για τη θεωρημένη ειδική σχέση τους με τα επικασσιτερωμένα αγγεία. Εντούτοις, η διεξοδικότερη ανάλυση επικασσιτερωμένων αγγείων έχει προτείνει ότι ήταν λιγότερο όμοια με τα αργυρά σκεύη από ότι θεωρούνταν προηγουμένως, ειδικά όσον αφορά το εύρος των σχημάτων τους, αλλά και τις επιμέρους λεπτομέρειες τους, ακόμα και τα χρώματα. Η πρόσφατη έρευνα έχει επίσης τονίσει ότι η έννοια της μίμησης είναι πολύ περίπλοκη και η μελέτη της απαιτεί μια πλέον ενδελεχή προσέγγιση. Όμως οι αναφορές στην επικασσιτερωμένη κεραμική ως σαφείς απομιμήσεις, ή ακόμα ως υποκατάστατα των αργυρών αγγείων παραμένουν κοινές. Το 2014, προέκυψε μια ευκαιρία να εξεταστούν λεπτομερέστερα τα αργυρά αγγεία από τον Κόκλα. Είναι σαφής η ισχυρή σύνδεση μεταξύ του συνόλου του Κόκλα και επικασσιτερωμένων αγγείων, παρόλο που αυτό δε σημαίνει ότι τα τελευταία εξαρτώνται για έμπνευση από σύνολα όπως το πρώτο. Τα μοναδικά χαρακτηριστικά του συνόλου του Κόκλα υποδηλώνουν ότι ίσως ήταν μια τοπική καινοτομία να μιμηθούν τη χρήση των επικασσιτερωμένων αγγείων, τονίζοντας ταυτοχρόνως την υψηλή κοινωνική θέση των χρηστών τους. Αυτό το άρθρο καταλήγει στο συμπέρασμα ότι τοποθετώντας επικασσιτερωμένα αγγεία εντός της κεραμικής παράδοσης και έτσι θεωρώντας τα ως βελτιωμένη μορφή κεραμικών, παρά ως κατώτερη μορφή μεταλλικών αγγείων, εξηγείται καλύτερα η φύση αυτού του φαινομένου.

Μετάφραση: Στέλιος Ιερεμίας.

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Articles
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Copyright © The Council, British School at Athens 2018 

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CHICKEN OR EGG? RETHINKING THE RELATIONSHIP BETWEEN THE SILVER AND TINNED CERAMIC VESSEL ASSEMBLAGES
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