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More than a century of excavations on and around the citadel of Troy have uncovered a total of only fifteen Late Bronze Age (LB) ceramic vases with non-decorative mark(s) incised into their rim, handle, belly or base. Surely potmarks have been Overlooked or lost in the course of the tremendous labors of digging and sorting. On the other hand, in the absence of the discovery of archives, the excavators of Troy have been on the look-out for signs of writing of the briefest sort on the humblest kinds of objects. For example, already the first volume of Schliemann's publications is peppered with references to marks on "terra-cotta whorls, balls, seals, vases, and other objects", and Blegen's team recorded "a circle on the bottom of a baking pan" (Given this historical interest in possible signs of writing, it does not seem likely that large numbers of LB potmarks have gone unnoticed, for these are characteristically conspicuous: they are large in size and deeply cut and they are usually incised into the kinds of vases (fine wares) and parts of vases (rims, handles, bases) that archaeologists pay attention to as "diagnostics". Present evidence suggests that the inhabitants of Troy VI-VII infrequently felt the need to mark their pottery directly with signs of production, ownership, value, contents, source or destination.


Mathias Wemhoff, Dieter Hertel & Alix Hänsel


Staatliche Museen zu Berlin – Preussischer Kulturbesitz





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Berliner Beiträge zur Vor- und Frühgeschichte, Neue Folge, Band 14

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