Home > Conferences, Pyla-Koutsopetria Archaeological Project > Pyla-Koutsopetria Archaeological Project at the International Association for Classical Archaeology Congress, Rome.

Pyla-Koutsopetria Archaeological Project at the International Association for Classical Archaeology Congress, Rome.

The Pyla-Koutsopetria Archaeological Project will be presenting a paper at the International Association for Classical Archaeology Congress in Rome (22-26 September 2008).  It will be in a panel on Exchange in the Eastern Mediterranean.  The other papers in the panel and our abstract are listed below. 

For more on the Pyla-Koutsopetria Archaeological Project see our sister blogs: Pyla-Koutsopetria Graduate Student Weblog, Pyla-Koutsopetria Season Staff Blog, Pyla-Koutsopetria Undergraduate Perspectives.


Session Title: Exchange in the Eastern Mediterranean

Session Co-ordinator: James Whitley, University of Cardiff

Discussant: Professor Carla Antonaccio, Duke University

Session Abstract

This session looks at a number of interrelated issues covered by the word exchange (which necessarily covers, but is not limited by, all forms of trade), and the technological and geographical conditions that made such exchange possible (particularly Mediterranean ‘connectivity’). First it looks at the exchange of goods, whether primarily social (as gifts or other ‘entangled objects’) or commercial (as commodities), and the social and economic networks these exchanges create. Second, it looks at how the exchange of goods mediates changes in technology, ideas and culture – exchange, that is, as a medium of acculturation. It seeks to relate these wider patterns to the particular, local circumstances of two of the East Mediterranean’s larger islands, namely Crete and Cyprus, whose respective social and economic development take radically paths in the Early Iron Age and Archaic periods.


Transport of goods in the Mediterranean region from the Geometric to the Classical period – Images and meanings

Athina Chatzidimitriou, Hellenic Ministry of Culture

This paper presents various aspects of the iconography and sources related to the transport of goods, as attested from the Geometric to the Classical period. The paper focuses on Greek finds, such as the ones from Attica, as well as from Italian, Greek or indigenous Mediterranean centres. A small number of clay models of wheeled animals shown loaded with transport amphorae were deposited as offerings in Greek graves as early as the Geometric period. Later, carts (hamaxa or apènè) used for transporting people on special occasions such as weddings, funerals and religious festivals, as well as heavy goods, are depicted in the Archaic and Classical Attic and Boeotian vase painting. A number of vases bear representations of two-wheeled carts drawn by mules, loaded especially with amphorae, the main storage vessel for the trading of wine and oil throughout the Mediterranean. The easy carrying of the amphorae and other products over short distances by the use of a pole, usually held by two men is also attested.

In the same period, two-wheel wagons, with similar construction and constituent parts to those of the Attic vase painting occur in the art and finds of the region of Etruria and in the colonies of Magna Graecia. In the 5th to the 4th century B.C. a number of figurines of mules and horses, loaded with vases and other goods, are found in the workshops of Greek coroplastic centers as well as in Cyprus.

Merchant ships, although the most common means of goods-transportation, are seen to have been rarely represented on vase painting, when compared to war ship images. Clay models and depictions of merchant ships, found in Greece and Cyprus, tend to share construction similarities with depictions of the same on Etruscan vessels.

From the study of transport methods, we can therefore trace the development of commercial relations between various Mediterranean centers. These relations underline the primary role of trade and exchange of goods in the development of cultures in the Mediterranean area.

Trade and Exchange in the Eastern Mediterranean: A Model from Cyprus

William R Caraher, University of North Dakota
R. Scott Moore, Indiana University of Pennsylvania
David K. Pettegrew, Messiah College

Traditional work on the Late Roman economy focused on the role of urban areas as large coastal commercial centers. More recently, however, scholars have begun to recognize the important place of mid-sized coastal sites in Late Antique exchange systems. These smaller nodes of exchange supported independent trade routes standing between urban centers and more rural areas of agricultural production and allowed inhabitants of non-coastal and ex-urban areas the opportunity to participate in

economic and cultural exchange. This paper provides a case study of a Pyla-Koutsopetria, a mid-sized, Late Antique harbor town of between 30 and 50 ha. situated 10 kilometers east of ancient Kition, Cyprus. Five seasons of archaeological fieldwork by the Pyla-Koutsopetria Archaeological Project have produced archaeological evidence for local and interregional exchange on the micro-regional level. The midsized site of Pyla-Koutsopetria suggests a decentralized pattern connectivity which links exurban and rural regions in Cyprus to broader Mediterranean currents. This connectivity not only provided an economic lifeline but also an opportunity for cultural exchange independent from dominant urban areas. This study considers how greater Mediterranean connectivity supported by an increased number of recognized autonomous economic nodes challenges the longstanding view of ancient culture as an urban phenomenon.

Social networks and exchange in ancient Greece: the evidence of weight standards (a case study) .

Katerina Panagopoulou, University of Crete

The present paper capitalizes on the key convention in identifying monetary networks in antiquity, that of a weight standard. A weight standard may be defined as a unit of weight, the fractions or multiples of which provided the various denominations of a coin issue. The unit of weight adopted often varied from place to place. It was normal for a state to adopt (and adapt) for its coin issues the weight standard employed in the economic transactions in which it participated. A state (as an issuing authority) might also employ different weight standards for different coin issues, in order to facilitate transactions lying on different monetary conventions. In order to investigate the nature of the market defined through this convention, I will explore the structure of the market in a specific area through the application of the social networks’ theory. I will then examine the processual history of the integration of this given area into more global monetary systems dominated by standards as widely accepted as the Attic in the Hellenistic period. I will then focus on the impact that the integration of this area into the lingua franca of the Classical and Hellenistic period had upon local networks.

Pottery production in Iron Age Crete viewed in the context of regional and external trade networks: A ceramic petrology perspective

Marie-Claude Boileau, Fitch Laboratory, British School at Athens, Greece
James Whitley, School of History and Archaeology, Cardiff University, UK
Anna Lucia D’Agata, Istituto di studi sulle civiltà dell’Egeo e del Vicino Oriente, CNR, Rome, Italy

This study uses an integrated approach combining ceramic petrology to stylistic and contextual data to investigate how production of coarse uti
litarian pottery in Central Crete was influenced by regional and external trade networks from the 12th to the 7th centuries BC. The gap in the textual record makes the Cretan ‘Dark Age’ highly dependent on material evidence to study the social developments which led to the emergence of the polis. Yet, scientific analyses of ceramics from this post-prehistoric period have been very few and deal mainly with fine decorated wares. In this regard, the scientific analysis of stratified pottery from the British excavations of Knossos in North-Central Crete and the Greek-Italian excavations of Thronos-Kephala (ancient Sybrita) in Central-Western Crete, two settlements showing uninterrupted Early Iron Age occupation with deposits belonging to domestic, funerary and ritual contexts, will significantly contribute to the current understanding of the early Greek period. The comparative study of the two assemblages is expected to provide a better understanding of the long-term changes and impact of external influence on the island’s potting traditions, especially from the 10 c. onwards.

The Cypriot Kingdoms in the Archaic Age: a Multicultural Experience in the Eastern Mediterranean.

Anna Cannavò, Scuola Normale Superiore – Pisa and Maison de l’Orient et de la Méditerranée «Jean Pouilloux» – Lyon

The Cypriot kingship in the Archaic Age is an interesting case of interaction between cultural experiences of different origin. Far from being merely a survival of the Mycenaean-type royalty or an imitation of the Phoenician city-kingdoms, it presents some features of both these institutions, modified and adapted to a different, very heterogeneous cultural context. Spurred and conditioned from time to time by greater and more complex realities active at the border of their world – the Neo-Assyrian empire, 26th dynasty Egypt, the Phoenician city-states, the expanding Greek world – the Cypriot kingdoms evolved during the Archaic Age in original and partially recoverable manners.

During the analysis the results of the excavations conducted in different sites of the island – Kition, Amathous, Paphos, Salamis – shall be considered. A comparison with the data resulting from the epigraphic and literary evidence shall be proposed: the textual evidence originates largely from the outside of the island, so the documents have to be read with the greatest attention to their context of provenance. At the end a development model, which accounts for the role and the contribution of each culture involved in the process, shall be proposed, thanks also to the comparison with similar realities in the Mediterranean world of the Archaic Age.

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