SUKHANOV E.V. Clay Raw Material of Medieval Pontic Amphorae (to the Question about Production Areas)


Evgeniy V. Sukhanov

Junior Researcher of Department of Theory and Methodology,

Institute of Archaeology, RAS,

Dm. Ulyanova St., 19, 117036 Moscow, Russian Federation

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Abstract. Introduction. Amphorae is a significant part of pottery from the early medieval sites of Pontic region. They are traditionally considered as important source for analyzing the chronology, directions and intensity of ancient trade links. The paper is devoted to comparative analysis of clay raw material used for making medieval pontic amphorae. These ceramic containers are wide spread in the sites of the 8th - 10th centuries in Crimea, Taman, the Don and the Volga river basins and in other areas.

Methods and materials. Two groups of sources were investigated. The first group contains samples from 280 amphorae found on settlement sites of Saltovo-Mayaki times in the Middle and Lower Don basin. These samples have been сollected by the author in the museum funds of Southern regions of Russia. The second group is represented by samples of clay raw material from Southern part of Crimea where pontic amphorae production centers were located (the foothills and Southern coast). We used A.A. Bobrinsky’s method for determining different regions for digging of main plastic raw material by analyzing the ceramic under a stereoscopic microscope.

Results. The main result of study is allocation of two kinds of raw materials which were used for pontic amphorae making (about 84 % of studied vessels). After comparing these raw material kinds with Crimean samples, their connection with different areas was clarified. These areas belong to different geological formations. The first area is in the South-Western Crimea, and the second area covers the Southern and South-Eastern Crimean coast, to the South of the ridge of the Crimean mountains. The conducted research allowed obtaining interesting data which need to be further proved by the methods of archaeometry.

Key words: clay raw material, amphorae, trade links, pontic amphorae, areas of medieval amphorae production, binocular analysis.

Citation. Sukhanov E.V. Clay Raw Material of Medieval Pontic Amphorae (to the Question about Production Areas). Vestnik Volgogradskogo gosudarstvennogo universiteta. Seriya 4, Istoriya. Regionovedenie. Mezhdunarodnye otnosheniya [Science Journal of Volgograd State University. History. Area Studies. International Relations], 2019, vol. 24, no. 1, pp. 47-60. (in Russian). DOI:

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Clay Raw Material of Medieval Pontic Amphorae (to the Question about Production Areas) by Sukhanov E.V. is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.

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