Keywords: Byzantium, Crimea, glazed ceramics, trade, 13th century.


Despite political and military upheaval in Byzantium in the 13th century, the most important of which were the conquest of Constantinople and the central territories of the empire by the Latins in 1204, and then the restoration of the state and the return of the capital by Michael VIII Palaeologus in 1261, the manufacture of marketable glazed tableware on its historical territory had not stopped. Moreover, delivery of this ceramic into the territory of the Crimea also continued. This was largely due to the new owners of the maritime market — Italian merchants, first Venetians, and then Genoese, who were active participants of the political and military conflicts in the Eastern Mediterranean and Byzantium. At the same time, the composition of the imported ceramic was not stable. Finds from well-dated archaeological deposits known from the excavations of archaeological sites in the Crimea, as well as the surrounding area, provide the information as for the volume of the Byzantine import and changes in the imported pottery assemblage during the 13th century. First of all, these are the cultural remains with the layers of fire and destruction on the territory of the medieval towns in southern and south-western Crimea with the coins of 1250—1260s; shipwreck near the Novy Svet village south-west to Sudak, which wrecked not earlier than 1260—1270s; two pits in the harbor part of Soldaia / Sudak with coins of the 1266 and 1270s, which, according to stratigraphy, were filled after the mentioned catastrophe; sites in south-eastern Crimea with coins of the last quarter of the 13th — early 14th century, so on. Correlation of data from these contexts leads to the following conclusions. 1. Quantity of Byzantine ceramics imported into Crimea during the 13th century was quite significant. It accounts for up to 70 % and more of the ceramics assemblages. 2. The range of glazed ware remained approximately the same from the beginning until the middle — third quarter of the 13th century. The MBP (mainly «Incised Sgraffito Ware», less often «Champlevй» and others); GWW with monochrome green glaze as well as green and brown painted variants; «Zeuxippus Ware» (class IА&II) prevailed. 3. Since the last third of the 13th century less elegant and cheaper vessels («Sgraffito with Concentric Circles», jugs with stripes of white engobe) from different workshops, which in large quantities arise on the Byzantine and surrounding lands, start to come to the Crimea and Northern Black Sea Region. Their activities were stimulated by the intensification of maritime trade and the growing demand for cheap glazed pottery. 4. Cessation of some groups of import, especially MBP from Chalcis, may be due to the ousting of the Venetians from the Crimean market and their temporary difficulties with novation in the Black Sea after 1261. At the same time, the sales crisis could lead to the decline of some large pottery centers and to the emergence of new focused on more promising trading intermediaries, which the Genoese became.


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Teslenko, I. B. (2020). BYZANTINE GLAZED CERAMICS OF THE 13th CENTURY IN THE CRIMEA (short review). Archaeology and Early History of Ukraine, 35(2), 395-404.