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COMPOSITIONAL PROPERTIES AND PROVENANCE OF HELLENISTIC POTTERY FROM THE NECROPOLIS OF ISSA WITH EVIDENCES ON THE CROSS-ADRIATIC AND THE MEDITERRANEAN-SCALE TRADE

Šegvić, Branimir ; Ugarković, Marina ; Süssenberger, Annette ; Mählmann, Rafael Ferreiro ; Moscariello, Andrea

Excavations of Hellenistic necropolises in ancient Issa located on the island of Vis in coastal Croatia revealed significant amounts of pottery, mostly tableware, dated from the second half of the 4th to the 1st c. BCE. Recovered pottery contained different stylistic forms thought to have been produced locally or imported. The goal of this study was to report on technological and compositional aspects of pottery economics embedded in the frame of social development of Issaean society. For this purpose, a set of 42 samples was analysed by X-ray diffractometry, polarization and electron microscopy, X-ray fluorescence, and automated electron microscopy. The results of archeometric inquiry combined with stylistic traits showed most of the vessels were produced locally whereby the procurement of raw material was dependent on the local occurrences of Terra Rossa. This required a high level of manufacture organisation, defining Issa as a presumably wellestablished Hellenistic city already in the second half of the 4th c. BCE. At the time the city maintained a strong exchange with the Italian South as suggested by excavated red figure and Gnathia pottery characterized by the superior production technologically compared to local imitations. A rare example of recovered amphoriskoi and their distinct material characteristics provided a strong indication of the presence of Levantine pottery in Issaean graves which, until now, has not been attested in the Eastern Adriatic. Such a finding speaks of the involvement of Issa in the Late Hellenistic networks of economic and cultural seaborne connectivity between the Adriatic and the Eastern Mediterranean and introduces Issa as a far-flung market of, at the time popular Levantine luxury products.

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