Byzantine Glazed Tableware from Lakedaimon: the social, economic, and historical context is the topic of the next Sparta Live! Webinar, organized by The Centre for Spartan & Peloponnesian Studies and the Centre for Late Antique & Byzantine Studies of the University of Nottingham and the City (Dimos) of Sparti.
The speaker is Evi Katsara, of the Ephorate of Antiquities of Laconia, Hellenic Ministry of Culture & Sports.
The Webinar is taking place through Microsoft Teams.
Byzantine Glazed Tableware abstract:
The city of Lakedaimon, Sparta’s name during the Byzantine period, was the capital of Laconia. From the 10th to the 13th century, Lakedaimon was an urban centre, a polis, defined by its dense population, monumental buildings and Episcopal See. It was a prosperous city that expanded around the circuit wall, the Kastron, where all political, administrative and ecclesiastical activities were concentrated. Rescue excavations carried out by the Greek Archaeological Service on various sites in the modern city of Sparta, as well as excavations conducted by the British School at Athens on the Spartan Acropolis, the Byzantine Kastron of Lakedaimon, revealed architectural remains of the Byzantine period and produced a rich variety of Byzantine ceramics dating from the 10th to the 14th centuries. These ceramic finds show a diversity of sources, which illustrate the commercial links with production centres within the Empire. The glazed pottery, in particular, has prompted questions concerning the provenance of the vessels. At first, Sparta was hitherto not considered a production centre of any importance, mainly because of its vicinity to Corinth, which was the leading centre for commercial and artisanal activity in the Peloponnese during the Byzantine period. Secondly, despite the extended excavation research in the urban city, no kiln site has ever been yielded. However, now, recent research has led to the working hypothesis that, at least during the 12th century, only a small percentage of glazed pottery had been locally produced, whereas the majority of the glazed ceramic material had been imported from Constantinople, Chalkis and elsewhere. The absence, so far, of pottery workshops from the archaeological record, together with the abundance of a diversity of types and the quality of the execution, reinforce this hypothesis. The Byzantine glazed tableware presented here has been recovered in well-stratified contexts, which allows a systematic and comprehensive study.
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