Pithoi in the Medieval Households of South Tauriсa (Crimea, Ukraine)
Iryna Teslenko (Institut d’archéologie, Académie nationale des sciences d’Ukraine)
The mass use of pithoi in the medieval households of South Tavrica is connected with development of commercial wine-making in this region in the second half of the 8-9th centuries. At that time wild coastal valleys of the southern slopes of Crimean Mountains were intensively developed by immigrants from Asia Minor territories of the Byzantine Empire. They founded vast agricultural settlements specializing in growing grapes, making wine and vessels for wine storage and transportation. Production of the pithoi was established in big pottery workshops functioned almost in each of those settlements. But although in the first quarter of the 10th century most of those rural communities ceased to exist, the tradition of making and use of pithoi in the region was saved until the Turkish invasion in 1475. Throughout the late medieval period pithoi were used in the pantries for storage of various provisions. During the archaeological excavations inside of vessels were found the remains of wine products, cereal grains, beans, flax seeds, hazelnut shells, and even large fragments of charcoal. Content of many vessels could not be determined. Probably, they were used for liquids which left no visible residues. Besides archaeological evidences, some interesting data for the reconstruction of the workshops’ process and particularly use of pithoi are among ethnographic materials of the Caucasus and the Aegean region.