Hellenistic Painted Ceramics from Olbia

  • Viktoria Kotenko PhD in History, Senior Research Fellow, Department of Ancient Archaeology, Institute of Archaeology of the National Academy of Sciences of Ukraine https://orcid.org/0000-0001-9172-1062
Keywords: antiquity, Olbia, Tauric Chersonesos, jugs, flasks


The article is devoted to the publication of a small collection of Hellenistic painted pottery from Olbia. The studying of certain categories of archaeological material provides an opportunity to explore in detail the various aspects of their characteristics and to outline issues related primarily to its origin. Among the promising vectors of the study of Olbian ceramic complex are finds of the Hellenistic period and isolation of some series of imported pottery of the Black Sea North region production. One of the representative collections of Hellenistic pottery from Olbia is stored in the Scientific Repository of the Institute of Archaeology of the National Academy of Sciences of Ukraine. It is represented by materials of excavations of the second half of the 20th century. First of all, the so-called red clay painted pottery is very interesting, the origin of which is still debated in historiography. Among the items selected for the study, table jugs predominate, which are represented by a fairly wide range of variations of profile parts and ornamental compositions. The decorations are the following: encircling lines, plant motifs or a combination of them; the painting is done mainly with dark red paint. The collection also includes fragments of ceramic flasks, which are rare forms of ware in the Black Sea North region and were used as small containers. Profile parts of vessels are described separately. The article also contains the description of the morphology of different types of jugs and their capacity.

Particular attention is paid to the origin of Hellenistic ceramics. It has been found that such pottery was probably made in Tauric Chersonesos. Despite the need of chemical and technical analyses of the clay composition and clarification of the raw materials origin, it should be noted that such indicators as mass character, typological similarity and the presence of these products in situ in the places of pottery production are quite convincing factors in the process of their attribution. Its availability in the ceramic complex of Olbia testifies to the existence of interpoleis contacts in the Black Sea North region, in particular to certain connections of this centre with Taurica in the 4th – 2nd centuries BC, which has already been recorded archaeologically on the amphorae materials. Therefore, a representative collection of Hellenistic pottery from the excavations at Olbia supplemented new information about the life of the polis during its active development.


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