Aeginetan potters at Pefkakia
Pefkakia, located at the coast of the Pagasetic Gulf south of Volos, is one of the key sites for the TRACT project, conducted by Bartek Lis at the Fitch Laboratory and funded through Marie Skłodowska-Curie Actions. Pefkakia is well-known for its Magoula and the Early and Middle Bronze Age layers. However, an extensive Mycenaean settlement at the foot of Magoula has been systematically excavated since 2006 by Dr Anthi Batziou, head of the Ephorate of Antiquities of Magnesia.
The final phase of the settlement at Pefkakia can be dated to LH IIIB2/IIIC Early period and is associated with deposits in a number of rooms in the uncovered architectural complex. The most prominent of these is Room 6, interpreted as a workshop, most likely for processing of textile fabrics, which produced a very rich ceramic assemblage.1 Among the finds, there are many cooking pots, including specialized shapes like brazier, dipper or torch holder, plausibly associated with industrial activities. Among the more standard cooking pots, the majority comprises tripods which are produced in a distinct tradition that developed on the island of Aegina. This is confirmed not only by their typology, but most importantly by their manufacture, from the way vessels were built to the final finishing of the surface and the use of potmarks. The only difference with cooking pots produced on Aegina is their fabric, as it is not consistent with the volcanic fabric of the island but matches local geology. Therefore, it is likely that potters from Aegina left the island (either temporarily or permanently) and produced their pottery at or in the vicinity of Pefkakia.
Even though the locally produced Aeginetan pottery is best evidenced in Room 6, where it holds a dominant position, it has been found also in other excavated areas. By far the commonest shape is that of a tripod, attested in two variants – standard tripod with short everted rim and the carinated type.
Representative sample of both local Aeginetan cooking pottery as well as other locally produced cooking pots will be analysed at the Fitch Lab, petrographically and chemically. In order to better understand the available resources, as well as potters’ choices, clay sampling has been conducted in the area of Volos. These clays will be used to manufacture experimental briquettes, which will be fired in three different temperatures and analysed in the same way as the archaeological samples.
1. Batziou-Efstathiou, A. „The Mycenaean Settlement at Pefkakia: The Harbour of Iolkos?” In Tradition and Innovation in the Mycenaean Palatial Polities, eds. J. Weilhartner & F. Ruppenstein, 51–85. Mykenische Studien 34. Vienna: Austrian Academy of Sciences, 2015.