Marks & Makers
Appearance, Distribution, & Function
of Middle & Late Helladic Manufacturers'
Marks on Aeginetan Pottery

By Michael Lindblom
October 2001
Paul Åströms Förlag
ISBN: 91-7081-179-2
216 pages, illustrated; 8" x 11.5"
$71.00 paper original

This study is an attempt to analyze the systematic marking of vessels produced on the island of Aegina in the Middle and Late Helladic periods. It deals with both the form and function of the marks, applied during the manufacture of functionally different vases.

The first two chapters provide a background to the investigation. Chapters 3 and 4 present the morphological characteristics and the spatial and chronological contexts of the marks, both as a collective phenomenon and as individual mark types. The marks are analysed in relation to each other, as is their distribution between different ceramic classes, the vessel shapes and their extension in time and space. Chapter 5 finally envisages the possible organisation of pottery production on Aegina. The potters and their marks are viewed in their socio-economic context, as part of an extensive economic network.

The longevity and intensity of the Gold Mica pottery production have enabled an evaluation to be made of a larger corpus of pre-firing marks in the Aegean than ever before. More than eleven hundred marked vessels from some twenty settlements, including Kolonna, have been taken into account. The results of the investigation support the attribution of Gold Mica vessels to Aegina and the existence at Kolonna of a very homogeneous and probably also nucleated, production environment.

Several ethnographic analogies suggest that pre-firing marks on pottery are typically devised as a means of regulating economic interests among different producers within a community. There are several circumstances that lend support to this interpretation also at Middle and Late Helladic Kolonna. The technological, spatial and chronological contexts of most mark types conform very well to those expected for small workgroups and reflect their organisation and economic interests. The prefiring marks most likely served their purpose when several independent actors used the same working spaces and installations or performed different tasks.

An elite with the means of amassing and maintaining an economic and political supremacy was in all likelihood present at Kolonna already at the beginning of the Middle Helladic period. If we accept the idea that Aeginetan pre-firing marks functioned as identification tags of persons or groups involved in pottery manufacture, we must also consider the possibility that the marks functioned as a means of regulating obligations between rulers and dependent potters.

Table of contents. List of tables and illustrations. Preface. Acknowledgements. List of abbreviations. Previous research on Aegan potters' marks. The Aeginetan potting tradition. Typology of the Aeginetan pre-firing marks. Context of the mark types. From marks to makers. Summary. Concordances. Bibliography. Includes 22 tables, 28 figures, 1 color plate, and 63 black & white plates.

Studies in Mediterranean Archaeology, Vol. CXXVIII

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