Anna Panagiotou

A comparative approach to the decorated pottery of theBronze Age Eastern Mediterranean

The incentive for this project was the observation that, while in the Bronze Age Aegean pottery can be elaborately decorated, in contemporary Egypt it is, with very few exceptions, remarkably plain. Starting from this difference, I am undertaking the first comparative examination in two generations of decorated pottery (or the lack of it) in the cultures that develop around the Eastern Mediterranean in the second millennium BC: principally those of Egypt, the Levantine coast, and the Aegean. Pottery appears in all those societies and often represents the greatest percentage of the material recovered in the area of study. I consider it therefore vital for archaeology to find novel ways to approach it, relate it with the other categories of material, and extract the maximum of information from it. To date, however, its interpretation has been largely limited to questions of chronology and inter-cultural trade. My own research will add a crucial new dimension, focusing on the aesthetic properties of decorated ceramics in the Middle and Late Bronze Age, and their varying significance across a range of social and cultural milieux.

I intend to approach the material in three different ways. The first is a detailed study of the developments of pottery in different regions in their social context in space and time. The associations of these with particular characteristics of each society under study can shed light on the significance of these changes for a wider reconstruction of social and cultural development in the Bronze Age Eastern Mediterranean. The second involves points of contact between these areas through trade, influences and relations with other categories of objects in order to bring the different strands together, instead of simply comparing them. This approach combines the potential of comparative studies with the information offered by actual interconnections. Finally, the scale of observation can change to specific case studies, for example Egyptian late 18th Dynasty bluepainted pottery, that are considered particularly informative as part of the more general processes.

Funding organisation

  • AHRC


 Educational background

  • Ptychio, History and Archaeology with specialisation inArchaeology, Aristotle University of Thessaloniki, 2009
  • MA, Egyptian Archaeology, UCL, 2010
  • uc19122Petrie: Blue-painted jar from Medinat Al- Faiyum, Egypt. 18th Dynasty (c. 1550 - 1292 BC). Copyright Petrie Museum of Egyptian Archaeology, UCL
  • MycenaeanCraterBM: Mycenaean pictorial crater found in Maroni, Cyprus. c. 1375BC-1300BC. ¬© The Trustees of the British Museum
  • uc18504Petrie: Funnel-necked jar from Naqada, Egypt. 19th Dynasty (c. 1292-1185 BC). Copyright Petrie Museum of Egyptian Archaeology, UCL

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