Manufacturing identity: an isochrestic approach to the ceramics from Kissonerga-Ammoudhia
Graham, Lisa Marie
Little is known about Cypriot society in the Early-Middle Bronze Age (2300-1650 BC). In the absence of any other excavated cemetery or settlement much of our information regarding western Cyprus during this period must be derived from pottery. The Middle Cypriot cemetery of Kissonerga-Ammoudhia is, at present, the largest corpus of pottery from this period and as such constitutes a corpus of information which can be used to test the nature and validity of evidence for expressions of identity. Although there appears to be broad similarities and a possible broadly similar culture with the rest of the island, the ceramics from Ammoudhia nevertheless show significant differences. The question of style, where it might be found and what it may represent has been a thorny issue for archaeologist for several decades. Traditional stylistic analyses of pottery have concentrated on the finished product. However, examining the actual process of manufacture offers archaeologists a methodology where style can be observed not only in the static end product but in the various choices made by artisans during the manufacturing process. This thesis applies such a methodology to a ceramic sample from Kissonerga-Ammoudhia, analysing and comparing these findings with those from other published sites. This places the assemblage in its context in wider Cypriot archaeology as well as providing a means to observe regional differences or similarities in manufacturing traditions. Using this methodology to identify and analyse the stylistic choices made by the Ammoudhia potters has led to some interesting results. The choices taken during the manufacturing process, in particular during the stages of preparation, hint at highly specialised and exclusive knowledge, so far not seen in mainstream ceramics of this period. This in turn has important implications for manufacturing identity in western Cyprus.