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collection of articles in series "AREE"

S. Bocharov (Kazan, Russian Federation), V. François (Aix-en-Provence, France), A. Sitdikov (Kazan, Russian Federation)


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Pages: 17-18

The second volume of research articles “Glazed Pottery of the Mediterranean and the Black Sea Region, 10th—18th Centuries” is published in the series edited by “Stratum”: “Archaeological Records of Eastern Europe” (AREE). It is not accidental, because among the archaeological materials from the medieval cultural layers, the glazed pottery is a special and most representative, abundantly available type of archaeological source. If we are to consider the totality of artefacts in medieval cultural layers, then in most cases, various ceramic materials will make 97 % of them. All medievalists, historians and archaeologists — students of material culture of the urban and the steppe worlds, have to deal with this particular group of archaeological artefacts. Obviously, each particular episode will have a different set of statistical data, but generally, all items of glass, iron or precious metals represented in cultural layers will count dozens or even hundreds, in the best case, while there will be dozens and hundreds thousand finds of ceramic sherds. It will be only logical to try and trace changes in development of the medieval material culture by studying this most informative category of mass material — glazed ceramics.

The glazed ceramics, potentially, is the most important source for a study of different historical issues. For instance, because of the large quantity of finds, which are easily recognizable even from smallest sherds, it can become a reliable dating material. The 10th — 18th centuries saw continuous changes in the range of varieties of glazed vessels produced by different centers. At the same time, we deal here with large lots of products manufactured for sale and having the same decoration. The latter was changing quite fast, and the morphology of the vessels changed too, although not that fast. As time passed by, centers for production of glazed pottery would appear and disappear, taking different shares of the market. All these features make the glazed pottery an important chronological indicator.

Today, one cannot assure that the study of the glazed pottery enjoys some well-developed methodological approaches. This can be explained, first of all, by the fact that, in most cases, the elements of ornamentation are registered, as a rule, on some fragmented materials, which are compared to what remains of similar items from a wide group of sites. Based on these, the researchers make conclusions on the origin of various decoration styles and offer the dating based on similarity of ornaments. Not denying the importance of such studies in ornamentation, it is important to accept that the methodology of such comparisons is not perfect. Any study of glazed ceramics today must rely on identification of specific production centers based on technological characteristics used in manufacturing of such vessels and specific compositions of the dough. Then, within the same production center, one must distinguish series of products with the same décor, with only some minor differences. The next stage: such series must be dated based on their finds in integral archaeological complexes. Then only one can proceed to a comparative analysis of ornamentation on products of different pottery centers. This will provide us, first of all, with reliable dating material, and second, we will be able to follow the ways how some pottery centers influenced on other centers, and finally, we will be able to establish some regularities in development of ornamentation on the glazed ceramics.

Manufacturing and daily use of the glazed ceramics is far from being purely local pheno­menon, for such vessels are known across vast territories. Therefore, in this volume addressing such massive archaeological material — glazed ceramics, porcelain and faience — we have tried to cover a vast region, including the Mediterranean, Black Sea, Near East, Central Asia, Far East regions and the zone of the Eurasian steppes in the developed and late Middle Ages.

While working on this volume, our main task as editors was to attract as many researchers as possible to the varous aspects related to studies of the glazed ceramics, porcelain and faience. We put our special effort to introduce for discussion as many earlier unknown archaeological and museum complexes with glazed ceramics as possible, as well as the results obtained from application of different natural scientific methods to studying clays, porcelains, faiences and glazes. To ensure a wider coverage of all interested groups of readers, this volume comes not only in paper format, but also in electronic format, where one may find color illustrations and which will be available free of charge to anyone who wishes to access the publications gathered in this volume.

The second volume “Glazed Pottery of the Mediterranean and the Black Sea Region, 10th—18th Centuries” includes five chapters, by geographic principle. They cover Western Mediterranean, Eastern Mediterranean, Black Sea, Eastern Europe, Central Asia and Far East regions and address various issues related to existence and distribution of glazed ceramics, porcelain and faience on these territories. The volume includes 44 articles prepared by 49 researchers from 15 countries (Azerbaijan, Belarus, Bulgaria, France, Greece, Italy, Lebanon, Russia, Romania, Serbia, Spain, Turkey, Ukraine, USA, Uzbekistan).

The chief editors and members of the editorial board hope that this volume will contribute to a vaster knowledge of the glazed ceramics as an element of the Mediterranean and steppe material cultures and will be useful to all colleagues in their daily research work.

Information about authors:

Sergei Bocharov (Kazan, Russian Federation). Candidate of Historical Sciences. A. Kh. Khalikov Institute of Archaeology, Tatarstan Academy of Sciences. Butlerov St., 30, Kazan, 420012, Russian Federation
E-mail: [email protected]
Véronique François (Aix-en-Provence, France). Docteur. Laboratoire d’archéologie médiévale et moderne en Méditerranée, Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique, Maison Méditerranéenne des Sciences de l’Homme. 5 Rue du Château de l’Horloge, BP 647, 13094, Aixen-Provence Cedex 2, France
E-mail: [email protected]
Ayrat Sitdikov (Kazan, Russian Federation). Corresponding Member of the Tatarstan Academy of Sciences, Doctor of Historical Sciences.  A. Kh. Khalikov Institute of Archaeology, Tatarstan Academy of Sciences. Butlerov St., 30, Kazan, 420012, Russian Federation
E-mail: [email protected]

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