Comprehensive Analysis of the Ceramics from the Early layers of the Zhabotyn settlement

Keywords: pre-Scythian period, Northern Black Sea region, polished pottery, petrography, electron microscopy, X-ray fluorescence analysis, archaeometry.

Abstract

The results of a comprehensive analysis using the methods of natural sciences of the samples of handmade dishes from layers of VIII—mid—VII c. BC are shown. Pottery was found at the Zhabotyn settlement, which is dated from VII to the middle of VII c. BC. 50 samples of vessels of different types were selected. The following analytical methods were used: petrography, microtomography, electron microscopy (SEM-EDS).

The aim of this paper was to present the results obtained in the study of ceramics of the Zhabotyn 1 horizon using the methods of natural sciences and compare them with archaeological data.

The research resulted in the identification of six technological groups (with subgroups), which reflect the archeometric characteristics of the molding mass of handmade ware of all kinds, which is found in the early layers of the settlement (Zhabotyn1 horizon). Comprehensive information about this collection is included in the Database, which was created by a team of authors.

Conclusions:

1. The most common was ceramics made of two types of molding mass, in the plastic mass of which smectite (group 2.3) and illite (group 3) clays predominate. When degreasing, the masters used sand impurities (22—28%) (group 2) or combinations of impurities - sand, grog, and crushed rocks (group 3). The composition of these groups of vessels contains all types of polished and simple ware that are found at the settlement. Paste fillings in the ornamentation of vessels of these groups were almost never used. The exceptions are samples from two taverns of group 2 — 469 and 470, in the decoration of which pasta of recipe no. 1 is noticed.

2. The vessels of the group 1.1 (mainly smectite clay, admixtures — chamotte (12—23 %) and sand (15—35 %)) are represented exclusively by black-polished S-shaped ladles. All ornaments of such examples were polished with white paste of recipe no. 1 (quartz + quartzite + smectite + bone meal). We also used paste of recipe no. 2 (epidote + chlorite + smectite + pyroxene (powder).

3. The use of the archaeometric methods for studying the molding mass allowed refuting one of the ladle reconstructions (subgroup 2.4, Fig. 7; 11), which supposedly consisted of three fragments. Unfortunately, according to the composition of the molding material, all three fragments used in the reconstruction belong to different subgroups and cannot belong to the same vessel.

4. Group 4 samples (kaolinite and illite clays; admixtures: sand and crushed rocks) belonged to the vessels with high-quality orange polishing and a pot with two handles that have analogies among the Basarabi culture ceramics. The data of archaeometric studies confirmed the assumption of archaeologists about imported origin of these ware.

5. A comparison of some vessels with the materials of the steppe zone Scythian burials of the in the Northern Black Sea region indicates that some ware from the workshops of the Zhabotyn settlement came to the steppe nomadic population.

6. Thus, Matrix-Groups of Refiring analyses provide the view of vessels manufacturing process. Several production recipes for making handmade pottery have been identified. That is, the latter was produced in small workshops, within home production. Such an assumption has already been made by the authors on the basis of archaeological data. At present, it is confirmed and refined by the methods of natural sciences.

7. The Zhabotyn settlement is one of 12 settlements of the Late Bronze Age — Early Iron Age, samples of which were taken to create the Database. Each of these settlements has its own set of techniques and methods for making handmade pottery. Their combination creates a special, “appearance” of ceramic production of each settlement or hillfort. That is, the vessels are markedly different from the ceramics of other settlements in the region of study. It is important to note that the analysis of clays from the vicinity of the settlements also confirms the presence of ceramic production in place. This conclusion is especially important for comparing the materials of settlements with the materials of the pre-Scythian time burials, which, in the end, will allow us to draw certain conclusions in solving the problem of relations between the settled and nomadic peoples of the steppe zone in the Northern Black Sea region.

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2019-12-26
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