Santorini Map English

POTTERY

Vast quantities of pottery have been found at Akrotiri: literally thousands of vessels, of which many have survived intact, standing upright in storerooms or on shelves and ledges. The pottery of Akrotiri falls into two categories: items which were made on the island, and those imported from other areas, such as the Argolid and especially Crete. A total of fifty different kinds of vessel have been found. The imported vessels were of excellent quality and bore ornamentation characteristic of their place of origin. Most of them were relatively small, thus making it easy to transport them. The local ware, by way of contrast, was highly varied in size and made from a kind of off-white clay. Against this background, abstract motifs or themes from the plant and animal worlds were painted in dark colours. Yet even the plant motifs of the local pottery were influenced by the corresponding Minoan themes which were in fashion in Crete at the time.

Above: a jug ornamented uith spiral motifs (Athens, National Arcbaeotogi cal Museum).

Below: A wine-strainer, one of the most characteristic types of pottery found at Akrotiri, ornamental with spirals and plant motifs

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These cymbes, elongated vessels whose purpose remains unknown to us, are typical of Ibe pottery of Thera men from Thera fall into two broad categories: those intended for everyday use, and luxury items.

The luxury vessels are usually small, and much care and attention was evidently spent on making and decorating them. Among the most typical examples of

Akrotiri ware are the special jugs called procboi, which veiy often have a beak-shaped spout or two rounded protuberances on the neck. A theory has been advanced that these were used as ritual vessels for the pouring of libations during fertility rites. Of particular interest is their decoration with birds or plant motifs. Also typical of the local ware is the so-called cymbe, an elongated vessel whose use is unknown, and the ethmiis, a kind of sieve with a perforated bottom.

The categories of Akrotiri ware include drinking-cups (which might be conical or shaped like lion’s heads, tritons, etc.) for special use during rituals, sacrificial tables, round-bellied jugs, pans for carrying hot coals, and many others. Among the examples of Mycencan ware are amphorae with false mouths and the vessels known as Keftiou cups.

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