An A.G. Leventis-Foundation-Funded Project

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cypotgroup Stirring Pots on Fire, a two-year research project funded by the A.G. Leventis Foundation through the University of Cyprus and coordinated by Athanasios Vionis, is an interdisciplinary and diachronic study of cooking pots from Cyprus. The research team comprises of members and collaborators of ArtLandS Lab, specialised in different periods and different aspects of ceramic study and analysis: namely, Maria Dikomitou-Eliadou (Bronze Age typochronology, ceramic technology and petrography), Giorgos Papantoniou and Anna Georgiadou (Cypro-Geometric – Cypro-Classical ceramic typochronology and diet), Skevi Christodoulou (Hellenistic – Roman ceramic typochronology and diet), and Athanasios Vionis (Byzantine – Medieval ceramic typochronology and diet).
allpots The chronological framework of our study spans between the Cypriot Bronze Age, when the first direct fire-boiling vessels were manufactured on the island, and the beginning of the Early Modern era with the rise of capitalism in the 16th century. The primary objectives of our project have been the identification of individual stages in the production sequence, such as the selection of raw materials and their processing for the production of the ceramic fabrics, the shaping and building of the vessels, firing etc. The mineralogical and chemical distinction of the fabrics recorded in the samples and the technological changes through time are also amongst our primary aims. The final goal has been the study of the cooking pots' prime use: the preparation of specific foodstuffs according to food availability, dietary and local traditions.
potsanalyses The methodology employed for approaching and implementing the project's research objectives can be divided into five main categories: (a) the typochronological analysis of the archaeological evidence, (b) the compositional characterisation of the sampled cooking pots, (c) the analysis of food residues preserved in the ceramic matrix of cooking-pot samples, (d) the study of relevant ancient and medieval textual references, and (e) the collection and evaluation of pictorial evidence. The scientific techniques we used for analysing cooking-pot technology include petrography, Wavelength X-ray Fluorescence spectroscopy (WDXRF), Scanning Electron Microscopy (SEM) and Gas Chromatography – Combustion – Isotope Ratio Mass Spectometry.
potsites The great importance of this research project lies in the combined typochronological and technological study of approximately 600 samples from 30 excavated sites across Cyprus. This is the largest interdisciplinary study of ancient pottery currently undertaken on the island, its final objective being a major publication with contributions by all the site excavators, archaeologists and material scientists collaborating for the implementation of this research. The anticipated monograph will provide comprehensive information about cooking pot typologies, cooking pot fabrics, the evolution of the cooking pot as a functional pottery class, and culinary practices in ancient and pre-modern Cyprus, and it can function as a paradigmatic study in a pan-Mediterranean context.