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The Pottery from the Precinct of Tanit at Salammbo, Carthage 1

  • D. B. Harden

The discovery of the Precinct of Tanit at Carthage in 1921 and its subsequent excavation during the following years up to 1925 have already been described in reports published by the excavators. But these reports were short, and neither they nor an equally short paper by the present author published in 1927 can be said to have done justice to the well-stratified series of cinerary urns which the Precinct contained. These, of which two thousand or more were found during three seasons of excavations, extend as a series over the whole lifetime of the Punic city, from the eighth to the second century B.c., and form the most important single piece of documentary evidence we possess for the history of western Phoenician ceramics. It seems worth while, therefore, to provide here a fuller classification of the main types and fabrics than has been published elsewhere, and at the same time to explain in greater detail the stratigraphy of the site, and the reasons which led the excavators to claim the widest inclusive dates possible for this series of pottery.

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page 59 note 1

The following article, though perhaps territorially outside the normal range of subjects discussed in Iraq, contains so much of interest concerning the pottery of a Semitic colony that the editor has been very glad of the opportunity of publishing it here. [R.C.T.]

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page 59 note 2 Poinssot, L. and Lantier, R. in Rev. des Hist, des Religions, LXXXVII. 32 fF.: Kelsey, F. W., A Preliminary Report on the Excavations at Carthage (New York, 1926), 33 ff.: Pace, B. and Lantier, R. in Monumenti Antichi, XXX. 155 ff.: and articles by Icard, , Saumagne, , Vassel, , and others in Revue Tunisienne for 1922 and following years.

page 59 note 3 Harden, D. B. in Amer. Joum. of Archaeology, XXXI. 297 ff.

page 59 note 4 The work necessary for the completion of this task was rendered possible by a generous grant of £30 from the Craven Fund of the University of Oxford in 1933, which enabled the author to pay a visit to the site and finish the study and classification of the pottery, begun in 1925.

page 60 note 1 This ‘feeding’-bottle in the form of a cow (see also Fig. 8, a) belongs to a class of animal bottles, common on early Punic sites. It is of the same soft red ware as its accompanying urn and is decorated with red stripes. For a group of these see Román, c. in Mem. de la Junta Superior de Excavaciones y Antigüedades, 1918, no. 7, Pl. 1.

page 60 note 2 For the stelae see further Poinssot and Lantier, op. cit., and Kelsey, op. cit.

page 62 note 1 For a photographic view of the portion of the stratum on which the chart is based, see Harden, op. cit., fig. 6.

page 62 note 2 Dumps of disused stelae were found in many places by Saint-Marie, Davis, and others at Carthage in the nineteenth century: Gsell, , Hist. anc. de l'Afrique du Nord, II. 80 f.

page 62 note 3 For a photograph of a portion of this stratum see Harden, op. cit., fig. 14.

page 66 note 1 Previously (Harden, 300) it has been suggested that this white slip overlay the painted as well as the unpainted parts and occurred on all Tanit I vases, and that it, like the similar slip or wash that exists on Tanit II and III wares (see below), was to be interpreted as a ritual whitening of the vases before burial. On closer inspection, however, it appears that it does not occur on every vase, and that when it does occur it does not overlie, but underlies, the painted decoration. It is therefore a normal slip, and need have no ritual significance. It should be added that the correct interpretation of the original surface-finish of the Tanit I vases is rendered difficult by surface decay and accretions caused by long immersion in water. On many pots what seems first to be a white slip is merely a white lime-accretion; on others a white slip certainly exists; confusion of these two led to the former misinterpretation of the evidence.

page 66 note 2 This example, and the others in this list labelled ‘A.M.’, belong to a group now in the Ashmolean Museum, Oxford, obtained by exchange from the Tunisian Government in 1934 through the kind offices of M. Louis Poinssot, Director of the Antiquities Service in Tunisia. The remainder of the vases with one exception (Pl. XI, 20) are in the private museum on the site, formed by the American Expedition in 1925. Six specimens from the Precinct are in the British Museum, presented by the Tunisian Government in 1925 (B.M. Quarterly, I. 95. pl. 53).

page 69 note 1 The ware is the same as that of the early Tanit II pots of Classes A, C, D, E.

page 80 note 1 The paint is the same; the varying colour is due to differences in firing.

page 86 note 1 Gauckler, op. cit.; Delattre, Douimes 1895-6; id., S. Louis 1890 ff.; and id., Bull Arch. 1907, 443 ff.

page 86 note 2 Gsell, , Hist. anc. de l'Afrique du Nord, II. 87 .

page 87 note 1 Harden, 302 ff.

page 88 note 1 It is now generally assumed that these vases are feeding-bottles and not lamp-fillers. They are frequently found in graves of children; and here is one with an infant's cremation.

page 88 note 2 That the type was not used more frequently as a lid in Tanit III is probably because it was somewhat large for the smaller urns of that stratum.

page 89 note 1 See further Kelsey, op. cit., 34 ff.

page 59 note 1 The following article, though perhaps territorially outside the normal range of subjects discussed in Iraq, contains so much of interest concerning the pottery of a Semitic colony that the editor has been very glad of the opportunity of publishing it here. [R.C.T.]

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