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Researches on the Ceramics of the Middle Ages from Excavations and Surveys in the Lycian Region
S. Yıldız ÖTÜKEN*

Studies concerned with the ceramics of the Middle Ages which have been unearthed from archaeological excavations and land surveys carried out in Turkey, have not been evaluated as a group until today. In this article, we wish to introduce those papers by considering their methods, purposes and conclusions pertaining to the ceramics, which were uncovered during excavations at the Basilica of Saint Nicholas in Demre-Myra since 1989.

In our Introduction, the publications concerned with ceramics from the excavations at Patara, Xanthos, Arykanda and Limyra in the Lycian region, in addition to those from the land surveys of Kyaneai, Dereağzı and Karacaören-Gemiler Island at Ölüdeniz (the Dead Sea) are evaluated briefly, and the papers on the same subject coming from the Perge, Sagalassos and the Anamur excavations to the east of Lycia are also presented.

The studies concerned with ceramics from the Lycian region and its surroundings focus in general on the Late Roman and Early Christian periods. On the other hand, ceramics belonging to the periods of Byzantine, Seljuk and Anatolian Principalities between the 7th and 15th centuries have for some reason not attracted the attention of researchers. Publications on the ceramics from these periods are scanty and reviews have just begun to appear. Historians of Art are either of minor importance or are totally absent from the excavation or survey teams assigned to the region, as is usually the case in Turkey. Besides, a thorough revision in the educational institutions is necessary in order to train undergraduates as experts on the subject of the handicrafts produced from the researches and excavations of Anatolia in the Middle Ages.

The stratigraphic texture is considered important in the evaluation of ceramics found during the excavation campaigns of 1989-2001 at Demre, as the area has been untouched from the Middle Ages to the present day, due to the alluvium layer that covered the city of Myra to a height of 6 meters sometime towards the end of the 12th, or the beginning of the 13th century. This unique feature, despite the difficulties of removing 20 feet of earth, may enable us to arrive at some reliable conclusions.

These ceramics are examined and dated with the accompaniment of other small finds from the same layers, together with the evaluation of architectural data. 45,491 pieces of ceramics have been found in excavation-campaigns so far; 4,162 of these belong to the Late Roman, Roman and Early Christian periods; a total of 38,008 of which 36,241 and unglazed and 1,767 glazed are dated to the Byzantine and another total of 3,314 composed of 2,602 unglazed and 712 glazed to the post-Byzantine eras. We review these ceramics covering such a wide span of time, by considering their general characteristics such as the material, the technique, the form, the ornamentation, etc. used in their production.

*Prof. Dr. S. Yıldız Ötüken, Hacettepe Üniversitesi, Arkeoloji-Sanat Tarihi Bölümü, Beytepe - Ankara.

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