5.0 Discussion

5.1 Typology versus fabric

With the RLWm ware from Kilise Tepe we are fortunate enough to have good data on both typology and on fabrics. The differing information provided by these two strands of evidence can be used in an attempt to elucidate the ware?s provenance.

5.2 Provenance

In provenancing the RLWm ware from Kilise Tepe, an area should be sought with outcrops of both limestone and low-grade metamorphic rocks, and with clays that are iron-rich, red-firing, perhaps low in calcareous content, and variably micaceous. Firstly, this fabric is almost certainly not local to Kilise Tepe, as no such resources have as yet been discovered, and the area appears not to be affected or characterised by low-grade metamorphism. Moreover, local fabrics are on the whole highly calcareous, microfossiliferous, and buff-firing. Establishing that the fabric is non-local is one thing, but defining its precise origin is quite another. The first candidate we must consider, in the light of Eriksson's work (1991; 1993), is Cyprus. The island is known primarily for its igneous geology, particularly the ophiolites of the Troodos mountains. However, there does exist low-grade metamorphism, notably as part of the Mamonia complex in the west of the island (Jones 1986, 341; Vaughan 1987; 1991). Carbonate rocks also occur in this area, as do clays of suitable composition (Vaughan 1991). Yet areas other than Cyprus exhibit similar features, and a combination of red-firing clays, carbonate rocks and low-grade metamorphism appears to characterise some parts of Cilicia, for example in the region of Anamur, Aydincik and Ovacik (Brinkmann 1976), on the coast and south of Kilise Tepe. Moreover, turning again to the typological evidence, the way in which there is some crossover with other wares (e.g. plain buff bowls with inturned rims), the possible early occurrence of this ware in the Middle Bronze Age, and the continuity into the Iron Age, may mean that a region that is culturally not very distant from Kilise Tepe is probable. This would mean that southern Anatolia would represent a more likely source area than Cyprus. It is most interesting that part of Cilicia was already suggested as a possible source for RLWm ware by Liliane Courtois, as long ago as 1971 (p. 149, citing Ovacik as a possible source area; cf. also J-C Courtois et al. 1986, 163). At present this hypothesis is highly speculative, but it deserves to be explored more fully, as there is at least some reason to believe that Cyprus may not necessarily be the source of RLWm ware.

5.3 Technology, mode of production

Regardless of where the workshop or workshops may have been located, it is quite apparent that the shapes are very skilfully made, notably the pilgrim flasks, libation arms and spindle bottles, and this is apparent in all stages of the production process. Clay selection seems to have been highly consistent, the wheel technique is used to very good effect (see Figure 2d for interior surface traces), the quality of surface finish is extremely high, and control over firing conditions is obvious. In conjunction with the quantities and widespread distribution involved (temporal as well as spatial), one can only surmise that a very well organised workshop (or workshops) of highly-skilled artisans was responsible for the creation of RLWm ware. It has often been argued that these characteristics do not sit comfortably with a Cypriot source, not least because most of the contemporary pottery on the island is handmade. If this evidence can be used as a further tool in establishing provenance, it should be noted that the technology of local Kilise Tepe pottery is not far removed from that of RLWm ware.


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Last updated: Tue Oct 24 2000