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6.1 Trenches C and F

Figure 35
Figure 35: Chart illustrating the distribution of pottery classes and variants in Trench C, layers 1 to 6. Image credit: Authors.

The classes and variants identified in Trenches C and F were distributed throughout the stratigraphic sequence of each trench as shown in Tables 5–6 and Figures 35–36.

Table 5: Number of sherds of each class/variant recorded in the archaeological layers of Trench C
Class/variants Layer 1 Layer 2 Layer 3 Layer 4 Layer 5 Layer 6 Total
Class 1 variant 1 6 6 70 26 8 116
Class 1 variant 2 1 1
Class 1 variant 3 1 1
Class 2 variant 1 1 1 7 87 39 20 155
Class 2 variant 2 45 11 7 63
Class 2 variant 3 1 1 13 9 24
Class 2 variant 4 3 18 51 22 11 105
Class 2 variant 5 5 6 11
Class 2 variant 6 3 3
Class 3 variant 1
Class 3 variant 2 2 4 4 10
Class 4
Class 5 variant 1 15 35 291 65 5 411
Class 5 variant 2 6 27 33
Class 5 variant 3 9 6 35 40 4 94
Class 5 variant 4 18 18
Class 6 variant 1 3 3
Class 6 variant 2 1 2 1 4
Class 6 variant 3 2 2
Class 7 variant 1 1 1
Class 7 variant 2 3 12 2 17
Class 8
Class 9 1 5 1 7
Class 10 variant 1 2 6 1 9
Class 10 variant 2 2 6 8
Unidentified 3 1 1
Total 43 9 130 668 194 52 1097
Figure 36
Figure 36: Chart illustrating the distribution of pottery classes and variants in Trench F, layers 1 to 8. Image credit: Authors.
Table 6: Number of sherds of each class/variant recorded in the archaeological layers of Trench F
Class/variants Layer 1 Layer 2 Layer 3 Layer 4 Layer 5 Layer 6 Layer 7 Layer 8 Total
Class 1 variant 1 5 6 33 3 12 56 60 13 188
Class 1 variant 2 3 3
Class 1 variant 3
Class 2 variant 1 6 8 33 3 18 39 40 12 159
Class 2 variant 2 5 9 36 2 15 16 16 9 108
Class 2 variant 3 1 1 4 6 6 2 20
Class 2 variant 4 11 9 38 5 49 44 19 13 188
Class 2 variant 5 2 4 3 1 10
Class 2 variant 6 1 1 1 1 1 5
Class 3 variant 1
Class 3 variant 2 2 8 41 6 16 8 9 1 91
Class 4
Class 5 variant 1 19 22 61 19 79 109 92 28 429
Class 5 variant 2 15 13 21 9 28 29 115
Class 5 variant 3 86 158 398 137 299 140 4 6 1228
Class 5 variant 4 12 9 25 10 25 5 86
Class 6 variant 1 1 1 1 2 1 6
Class 6 variant 2 4 2 1 3 10
Class 6 variant 3 1 2 5 1 1 10
Class 7 variant 1 1 1 1 3
Class 7 variant 2 1 5 1 13 7 2 1 30
Class 8 2 1 3
Class 9 1 2 3
Class 10 variant 1 18 3 3 5 29
Class 10 variant 2 1 5 6
Total 169 251 729 199 577 471 249 85 2730

As mentioned above, a number of samples from Trenches C and F were subjected to AMS dating (two from Trench C and six from Trench F) (Mohanty et al. in press). The resulting dates allow us to establish a tentative chrono-typology from the 4th century to the 10th century CE (Table 7).

Table 7: Reconstructed chronological sequence for Trenches C and F, based on radiocarbon dates and relative dating (after Mohanty et al. in press)
Trench Layer Radiocarbon date(s) Date range
C
1 19th to 20th century
2 10th or post 10th century
3 10th or post 10th century
4 870-985 8th to 10th century
5 570-655 6th to 7th century
6 4th to 5th century
F
1 19th to 20th century
2 17th to 18th century
3 1719-1826 17th to 18th century
4 Post 10th century
5 1810-1924 7th to 10th century?
6 560-650/575-640 6th to 7th century
7 340-400/425-540 4th to 6th century
8 Pre 4th century
9 Pre 4th century

The ease with which we can compare material from these trenches is constrained by the differing scale of excavations in each trench, varying quantities of ceramics in different contexts, and diverse degrees of certainty in the identification of archaeological layers between trenches. Notwithstanding these difficulties, it is possible to consolidate the ceramic counts for each of these trenches, and correlate the number of class-variants that were found to occur in the dated stratigraphic layers from those trenches. Doing so enables us to identify broad-scale distributions/concentrations of class variants by period, which can in turn be used as an indicator for the broad chronological phases that these class variants belong to (see Table 8). This leads us to propose a tentative chronological sequence for the entire assemblage.

Table 8: Distribution of classes and variants from dated layers in Trenches C and F
Class/variant 4th-6th century 6th-7th century 7th-10th century? 8th-10th century 17th-18th century
Class 1 var 1 35 25 2
Class 2 var 1 18 11 1 6 1
Class 2 var 2 4 8
Class 2 var 3 1 1 4
Class 2 var 4 9 11 1 2
Class 2 var 5 4
Class 3 var 2 3 2
Class 5 var 1 44 34 7 16
Class 5 var 2 1 1
Class 5 var 3 1 23 21 12
Class 5 var 4 1 1
Class 7 var 2 1 1 3
Class 10 var 1 2
Grand total 115 121 33 35 14

Phase 1: from the 4th to 6th-7th century CE

During the phase of occupation dating from the 4th to the 6th or 7th century CE, we observe that Class 1 variant 1, Class 2 variants 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, and Class 5 variant 1 are dominant. In terms of vessel shapes, type 1 (the cup with thinned rim) is the most common type of Class 1 variant 1. For Class 2, necked jars with everted rims are the main shapes (Class 2 variant 1-types 9, 10, 11, 13; Class 2 variant 2-types 5, 6, 7). Bodysherds with impressed decoration are also present (Class 2 variant 5). The main shapes of Class 5 variant 1 are pots with an everted rim marked by an internal careen (Class 5 variant 1-types 8, 9, 10, 11). Pottery belonging to Class 9 is also present; however, this only amounts to a single potsherd. Potsherds belonging to Class 7 occur in all three dated phases, so it is difficult to use this class as a chronological marker.

Restrictive shapes are the most common vessel forms that occur across all classes and variants. Despite this, we also see a relatively high proportion of unrestrictive shapes in the form of a large number of cups made using pots belonging to Class 1 variant 1.

Phase 2: from the 7th to 8th century CE

With the exception of vessels belonging to Class 9, which do not appear in layers belonging to this phase of occupation, the same classes and types from the previous phase continue to be dominant. In addition, Class 3 variant 2, Class 5 variants 2 and 3, and Class 10 also begin to appear in the assemblage. Interestingly, examples of Class 5 variant 2 occur in measurably lower frequencies than those of Class 5 variant 3.

In terms of vessel shapes, for Class 3 variant 2 pots with everted rims marked by an internal careen (e.g. Class 3 variant 2-type 5, similar to Class 5 variant 1-types 9, 10, and 11) are the most common forms. For Class 5 variant 3, vessels of shape-type 3 variant 2 (a bowl with an in-turned rim) and 8 (a necked-jar with out-turned rim and very often with an impressed and/or incised decoration on the top of the rim and a stamped decoration on the shoulder of the jar) are the most common forms.

Phase 3: from the post-10th up to 17th-18th century CE

The number of Class 5 variant 3 vessels increases and this becomes the main ware in the assemblage, while instances of Class 1, Class 2 and Class 5 variant 1 decrease significantly. Examples of Class 10 continue during this phase. Class 5 variant 2 also continues to be present but do not increase in quantity and appear in the same proportion as those of Class 5 variant 4, which also appears during this phase. Class 6 (all variants) also appears during this phase. Regarding the morphological types, we notice a greater variety of vessel shapes among pots of Class 5 variant 3. Yet, the shape-types 3 variant 2, 6 (a plate with a 'bord à marli'), 8, 14 variant 3 (a necked-jar), 15 (a necked-jar), and 16 variant 2 (a necked-jar) are the most common forms. Predominant vessel shapes in each of these phases are illustrated in Figure 37.

Figure 37
Figure 37: Common vessel shapes in each phase, Trenches C and F. Image credit: Authors.

Other classes that are present in the assemblage from the earliest phase of occupation do not exhibit any differences in their morphology. As such, we are in a situation where it is the presence or absence and the relative proportions of each class and its variants that provide the most reliable chronological indicators. Other than Class 5 variant 3, we are unable to reconstruct an evolution of vessel forms within each class. The potsherds belonging to the Unidentified group have been discovered only in the upper layers of Trench C (dating to the post-10th century CE). This is also true for pots belonging to Class 5 variant 3, which can thus be considered chronological markers. The tentative chronological sequence made on the basis of the data from trenches C and F allows us to propose a relative dating for the layers of the other trenches.


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