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by Archaeology Newsroom

Ceramics, Objects of Everyday Use. Utensils in Everyday Use

Ceramics have always been looked on by archaeologists as bearing witness to everyday life throughout the centuries. Byzantine and post Byzantine ceramics however neglected by the modern scholar, can very well supply us with information concerning the trade, technology and aesthetics of their time. They can help us positively with the dating of buildings and stratigraphy in an excavation. In addition, they help evaluate the tradition that puts contemporary ceramics in historic perspective. Up to the end of the 7th century AD Byzantine ceramics follow the Greco-Roman tradition. The pottery of this period falls into two basic groups, unpainted pottery for everyday use and the more luxurious “terra sigillata”, made of orange-coloured clay and glazed in the same colour and bearing an incised decoration or decoration in relief. After the 7th century AD an important change in the technique of Byzantine pottery takes place: yellow or green glazes are first employed. In the beginning of the 11th century the first examples of the incised decoration (sgraffito) appear and keep developing up to the 19th century. In the 13th century AD the incised painted pottery becomes very popular and this technique of decoration reaches high standards. In the 16th century many local workshops of glazed pottery are created and pottery becomes typified, as if mass-produced. The decoration, however, is further enriched and the painting on quite many vases imitates marble (this technique of decoration probably originates from China). In the 19th century the products of a workshop located in Tsanak Kale, Asia Minor, become very popular all over Greece. At the same time the Greek workshops succeeded to give to their pottery an exclusive, distinct character.