The present volume publishes some of the finds and results of the excavations conducted by Professor N. Stampolidis of the University of Crete in the Early Iron Age necropolis of Orthi Petra in Eleutherna, Crete. The necropolis, which is a palimpsest of intensive human activity, the denser and most legible lines of which pertain to the 9th – 6th centuries BC, lies on the originally rather steep, but now terraced, west slopes of the hill of Prines, 20-40m above the Chalopota stream. Its layout, including the monuments and their date, as well as the rites performed have been discussed by Stampolidis on several occasions. Although the necropolis has produced rich and varied remains, pottery is by far the most copiously represented class. This is, however, hardly surprising, given the well-known, relentless indestructibility of ceramics, which sharply contrasts with the ephemeral nature of their primary function.
The present volume is an analysis of a large corpus of ceramic material recovered from the neighbouring trenches A1 and K1, which are located in the central part of the excavated section of the necropolis. The material in question was found in the interior and immediate exterior of a chamber tomb called tomb A1K1, which housed cremation urns and burial offerings. Very few vases were also found inside or directly next to monument A1K1, which was partly overlying the tomb. Because of the scale and variety of the ceramic and other material it yielded and its importance for the archaeology of Early Iron Age Crete, the Aegean and the Mediterranean, a series of publication were planned for this particular context.
The demands of this work, however, and the various other commitments of the contributors led the editor to the decision to issue the publications in question individually. The present study of the pottery is the second of the volumes in this series, whereas the first volume, which is currently in preparation, includes a detailed catalogue of the rich and varied finds recovered - including the ceramic vessels discussed here – and studies the location of the tomb and monument within the necropolis, as well as their excavation and architecture. Furthermore, it offers an account of the conservation of the two structures following the excavation. A third volume based on the other classes of finds and the burial customs has also been planned, whereas a fourth volume regarding the physical anthropological material recovered has already appeared.
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