Bryn Mawr Classical Review

Bryn Mawr Classical Review 2004.03.03

Leif Erik Vaag, Winnie Nørskov and John Lund, The Maussolleion at Halikarnassos. Vol. 7: The Pottery. Ceramic Material and Other Finds from Selected Contexts. Jutland Archaeological Society Publications XV: 7.   Aarhus:  Aarhus University Press, 2002.  Pp. 243; figs. 29, pls. 85.  ISBN 87-88-415-17-1.  EUR 40.00.  



Reviewed by Natalia Vogeikoff (nvogei@ascsa.edu.gr)
Word count: 1140 words

The seventh volume in the series of the Maussolleion at Halikarnassos publications is dedicated to the presentation of the ceramic material and other small finds from eleven deposits from the Maussolleion terrace, as well as a small selection of interesting ceramic pieces from other Maussolleion contexts, especially the "Quadrangle". The volume is divided into two parts. Part A discusses The Wares, while Part B presents The Contexts, together with the pottery catalogue. In the Introduction, the authors briefly present the ceramic deposits, which are all related to the construction of the Maussolleion and, therefore, linked to a securely dated event (the deaths of Maussolos in 353 and his wife Artemisia in 351 B.C.). The Wares are divided into two broad categories, Fine Wares and Coarse Wares, based on their fabric. A thorough discussion of the different fabrics precedes the presentation of the Fine Wares, which are organized by decoration: Painted Pottery, Black and Red Plain Pottery and Mould-Made Bowls. Within each of these divisions, there are subdivisions first by fabric and then by shape. A brief chapter on the Unguentaria follows that of the Mould-Made Bowls.

The presentation of the Coarse Wares is organized again by fabric (Plain Wares, Cooking Ware), as well as by type of vessel, with Braziers, Transport Amphorae, and Pithoi discussed separately. There is a brief treatment of the Terracotta Roof Tiles at the end of the Coarse Wares.

In the Summary and Conclusions of Part A, the authors discuss in detail the nature of the deposits and their chronology, offering an interpretation of the contexts which places them within a wider historical framework. In the chronology of the contexts, the authors consider each deposit in detail, including information about their location within the Maussolleion terrace and the types of pottery found in each context. One wishes that an introductory treatment of the chronology had accompanied the Introduction of this volume and not the Conclusions. Why should the reader wait until p. 72 to find out that the construction of the Maussolleion terrace is postulated to have begun shortly after the foundation of Halikarnassos in 367/366 B.C. or that most of the deposits under discussion pre-date the completion of the Maussolleion?

Flaws in the book are primarily to be found in the illustration of the pottery. First, more than 100 pieces of pottery are not illustrated either in drawings or photos. More serious to my mind, however, is the omission of a scale for the majority of the drawings. There is no reference to the scale of the drawings in the Organization of the Catalogue Entries (p. 81) nor (with few exceptions) does one accompany the drawings themselves. On plate 3, while all drawings appear at 1:2, juglet (?) A 27 is presented at a scale of 1:4. On the following plate (plate 4), the scale of the drawings changes to 1:4 without any notice. On plate 9, shapes B 34 - B 36 are illustrated at 1:4, while entries B 37, B 39, and B 41 are represented at 1:2 while B 44 is again shown at 1:4 There are additional problems. Is the scale of G 134 1:4, according to the rim dimensions, or 1:2 following the Preserved Height? The same confusion appears in G 99 and G 148. The inclusion of a few colored photos is to the credit of the authors and the publisher as they greatly enhance the reader's grasp of the Yellow Smoothed and the Red Burnished Wares.

Other minor oversights include the mention on p. 34 of Soft, Light-coloured Fabric with a Black Gloss as a sub-division of the Black- and Red-Slipped Wares while on p. 201 the same fabric is presented as a sub-division of the Black Gloss Wares Related to Attic; the plural of lopas on p. 47 should be lopades instead of lopai; on p. 58, under Forms, reference to A 85 should be corrected to A 84; on p. 67, under Form, reference to H 128 should be corrected to G 115; on p. 106, red-figured crater C 2 should not appear under caption Non-Attic Black-gloss Fabric; on p. 109, under Introduction, in addition to bowl D 26, skyphos D 19 and cup-kantharos D 25 also date later than 350 B.C.; in the Bibliography, Yannicouri appears both under Y and I (wrongly); also please note that Xatzi-Vallianou should be Hatzi-Vallianou or Chatzi-Valianou.

This volume also has much that will appeal to the students of Classical and Hellenistic pottery. It is the first major study of Karian pottery since the publication of Labraunda (1965). The numerous contributions include linking a number of ceramic deposits with two chronological events (the foundation of Halikarnassos and the deaths of Maussollos and Artemisia), shedding light on the activities before and after the construction of the Maussolleion. The authors' attempt to define local and near-regional plain wares --by identifying the Red Burnished Ware as local and associating the Yellow Smoothed Ware with Knidos and by reconsidering the dates of a number of Black-gloss shapes from the Athenian Agora is convincing. Their observation that the fabric of the majority of the brazier fragments is closely connected with the Red Burnished Ware allows them to posit a local origin for the braziers as well. This volume also makes a significant contribution to our understanding of "Non-Attic Black-gloss Fabric," which seems to be popular in the Eastern Aegean, with the region of Karia perhaps serving as one of a producing center for this fabric. It is in relation to the "Non-Attic Black-gloss Fabric" that one wishes that the presentation of the pottery had been organized by type and not by context.

The historical conclusions also are significant, although the authors are right in pointing out that one must be cautious before applying them to the rest of Halikarnassos. After all the Maussolleion was a unique monument with special activities taking place at the terrace. For instance, do the nine Chian transport amphoras found in Well A suggest that expensive Chian wine was regularly imported to Halikarnassos or are they connected with more specific events, such as the interments of Maussolos and Artemisia (page 74)?

The authors have reached a number of interesting conclusions which should function as working hypotheses in future studies: a) there is hardly any activity in the Maussoleion area before the late 5th century B.C.; b) there is almost no evidence for a wine- and amphora-producing center in the area of Halikarnassos before the Late Hellenistic period; c) the increase in the imports of Rhodian amphoras in the middle of the 3rd century B.C. may be associated with the fact that Halikarnassos was under the influence of the Ptolemies, who were the most important trade partners of Rhodes.

We now look forward to the publication of the Hellenistic deposits from the Maussoleion itself, as well as more pottery from the Halikarnassian peninsula.

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