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3. Ornamentation technique. A number of technological modes of pottery ornamentation were applied: patterns incised with knife, stick, comb; imprints of sharpened and blunt stick, bobbin-shaped stamp. Two periods are revealed in development of pottery ornamentation. The first one is associated with the pre-Mongol period of the town plot existence. In that time vessels were decorated with two first technological modes only, but the share of ornamented pottery was very significant. In the second period (the middle and the second half of the 13th c.) the share of ornamented pottery was sharply reduced, ornamental motifs of wavy lines increased, whilst linear patterns became less frequent.
4. Rims’ varieties. The most popular rim type in the pre-Mongol period of the assemblage life was that of
hatchet shape and the type with rounded and inverted edge. In mid 13th c. the variety of rim types decreased sharply, the most popular shapes of pots’ upper part were then the rims of simplified archaic configuration.
5. Potter’s stamps. The total of 109 stamps were recorded within the town plot, 97% of them fell within the pre-Mongol period. The most wide-spread stamps were princely tamga-signs, which may be related to the specific character of the assemblage: it undoubtedly belonged to a person close to prince’s court. Another characteristic feature of the pottery association is high number of potter’s stamps bearing geometrical images, their major part being represented by three-sided rosette. The latter were most probably connected with the strengthening influence of the South Russian manufacturing traditions of pottery-making in Vladimir.
As a result, two periods in development of wheel-made pottery from the investigated town plot were revealed:
- the late 12th c. - 1238, the period of creative activity and widening pottery repertoire. By the Mongol invasion in the plot pots, bowls, bowl-shaped vessels, saucers, tumblers, mugs, amphorae of korchaga-type, kubyshka-iy^Q vessels, lamps, and lids were used. Rims’ varieties were rather numerous.
- 1238 - the second half of the 13th c., the period marked with pottery of worse quality. Evidently, many skilled potters from the princely court were taken captives, and soon after the Mongol invasion it were potters’ apprentices or some unskilled persons who produced pottery. Some of the artisans must have migrated from somewhere, since in spite of vessels’ poor quality some of them show the proportions not typical of the pre-Mongol period, and wavy lines became the dominating ornamental motifs.
The amphorae from Byzantine cultural circle in Medieval Russia (10th—13th centuries)
Different terms are used in Russian archaeological publications to signify medieval amphorae of the 10*-13* cc., still, all of them are unsuccessful. Such terms as “ancient Russian”, “southern”, “Kievan” (that is produced in Kiev), “red-clay”, “Circumpontic”, “North Pontic” applied to the vessels in question create major confusion among the archaeologists.
Actually, all medieval amphorae were manufactured in Byzantine, or in the countries of Byzantine cultural circle in the Mediterranean and North Pontic regions. That is why all vessels of that kind should be termed exclusively as “Byzantine amphorae”, or “the amphorae of Byzantine cultural circle”. Other determinations are incorrect. At present there are no doubts as for the fact that amphorae were never produced within Russian lands, and the theses on their manufacturing in Kiev or some other centres of South Rus’ should be concerned erroneous.
The amphorae of Byzantine cultural circle were used first of all for transporting wine and other liquid and dry matters (oils, oil-products, spices) to Russian lands from Byzantium. Once brought to Rus’, they were used as containers for preservation of agricultural products in princely, boyar, and, apparently, in church and monastery cellars.
Sometimes amphorae served as a part of urban house interior. A variety of products and artefacts could be preserved in them, for example, beads’ lots. Amphorae were also used while constructing Christian churches for lightening vaults and creating acoustic effects. Even sherds of broken amphorae were sometimes utilised for making different small artefacts.
The catalogue of finds of medieval amphorae (the 10th—13th cc.) in the territory of ancient Rus’ has shown that they were widely spread over all Russian lands, both in the north and south. Amphorae are known not only from towns’ cultural deposits, but also from numerous rural sites.
Totally 197 sites that have yielded amphorae finds are known at present, among them 37 rural dwelling sites, 2
cemeteries, 1 monastery, and several feudal castles, the remainder originate from urban centres. Thus, concentration of the discussed pottery depends on number of towns and large villages where lived the consumers of the goods transported in amphorae - vine wine, oils, and the like. Traditionally it is hold that among them there were, first of all, princes, and both boyars and merchants, having at their disposal the corresponding means to consume the expensive commodities. One more consumer of large amount of vine wine should be pointed to, namely, Christian church. Wine was utterly necessary for performing Holy mass. Since by the 13th c. churches existed in all Russian towns, wine in amphorae-containers had to be delivered to each.