Characterising Southwest Anatolian Iron Age Painted Pottery

Location:  Aegean Coast

Year(s):  2016-2017

Grant Recipient: Tamar Hodos, University of Bristol 


Tamar Hodos, University of Bristol, Project Director
Orlene McIlfatrick, BIAA, pXRF specialist

Funding:  BIAA

Under BIAA SRI(s): 

Habitat and Settlement in prehistoric, historical and contemporary perspectives, Legacy data; using the past for the future


Southwest Anatolian (SWA) ware is the primary Iron Age painted ceramic product of southwestern Turkey. Aside from being noted by fieldwork, however, the corpus remains otherwise unstudied. To address this oversight, this project uses the BIAA’s holdings of SWA in its ceramic collection to create baseline chemical data, via portable X-ray Fluorescence (pXRF), and descriptive groups for comparative purposes.

While pXRF cannot refer back to geology, and thus pinpoint the geographic origin of ceramic material, it can identify material with common elemental characteristics, thereby allowing us a means of establishing ceramic groups to compare with our visual assessments.  Thus, a pXRF study that incorporates material from a wide geographic area can be used to provide distributional knowledge.

The present study selected 415 sherds from c.50 sites in the geographic zone extending from the Upper Meander valley to the south coast of Turkey. While visual assessments of the selected material has been completed, unfortunately, due to equipment failure, the pXRF analysis remains unfinished at this time. Once the analyses have been concluded, we will offer a suitable summary for the website.

Resulting Publications: 

The publication of this work will be an article to be submitted to Anatolian Studies, once we are able to complete the pXRF component.

We have been invited to present our results in a themed session on Anatolian landscapes at the January 2018 AIA meeting (Boston). The session itself is currently under consideration.

Photographs were taken of the selected sherds. The photographic archive will be offered to the BIAA upon completion of the project.

Tamar Hodos specialises in the archaeology of the Mediterranean's Iron Age (c.1200-c.600 BCE), with particular interest in the impact of colonisation, and the construction and expression of social identities. She is an expert on Southern Iron Age Anatolia, particularly its ceramic cultures, having conducted fieldwork in both the Hatay and Lycia for over twenty years. The present study derives from her fieldwork at the site of Caltilar Hoyuk (Lycia), where she identified three distinct classes of bichrome Southwest Anatolian (SWA) ceramics. This demonstrated the need for a broader study of the local decorated ceramic outputs of southwest Anatolia. The present study is the first archaeometric analysis of SWA. She is Reader in Mediterranean Archaeology at the University of Bristol.

Belongs to;
Archaeology and Related Disciplines

View other research