Project

Project Scope:

The Web Atlas of Ceramic Kilns in Ancient Greece was designed to facilitate research on kiln sites and ceramic production in Ancient Greece. Previous studies have produced lists of kilns sites from various periods (see under Resources), but as new kiln sites are discovered, there is a need to have an updated database of these important ceramic production centers. The Web Atlas aims to address this need by providing a valuable research tool to scholars who study ceramic production of different time periods in ancient Greece, as well as ceramic technology, trade of ceramics, and scale of economy. With the active participation of its users, we hope that the Web Atlas will assist researchers and benefit from their online submissions of their kiln sites.

The Ceramic Kilns in Ancient Greece:

Ceramic kilns played a vital role in ceramic workshops as they transformed malleable clay forms into durable terracotta products. Greek potters used predominantly updraft kilns with two-chambered,  a lower one (combustion chamber)  to place the fuel, and an upper one (the pot-firing chamber) to fire the ceramics. The two chambers were separated by an intermediate perforated floor which allowed the heat generated in the combustion chamber to reach the area where the ceramics were stacked.

 

Image for kilns

Depictions of Kilns on Terracotta Pinakes with Scenes of Potters at Work from Penteskouphia, Ancient Corinth (6th century B.C.): Left: Vertical Cross-section; Right: Outside View.  A: Pot-firing Chamber; B: Combustion Chamber; C: Intermediate Perforated Floor.

 

The two main types of kilns, based on their footprint, are circular and rectangular with some variation in the support system for the perforated floor. Most workshops had one or two kilns.. Most circular kilns measure 1.00-1.50m in dimensions.

 

Kiln Typologies

 

 

The kiln capacity was optimally designed both to bring profit from successful firings and to help the workshop recover quickly from unsuccessful ones. Kilns, as permanent architectural features, constitute the most reliable criterion for identifying ceramic workshops.

 

 

Database Structure:

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The Web Atlas currently has four searchable criteria (Region, Period, Type, Gross Dimension). Our goal is to add more refined searchable fields, such as modern prefecture, sub-periods,or kiln sub-types, to allow for more specific searches. The regions and the periods are listed alphabetically.

Coordinates: The kiln sites were mapped using Google Maps. For urban locations where exact addresses were known, the coordinates were easier to acquire. For rural locations, especially plots of land in the countryside, the GPS coordinates are less reliable (no such information is provided in the Archaeologikon Deltion reports). We hope to make all coordinates as accurate as possible with collaboration from the Archaeological Service and with users' input.

Regions: Aegean Islands (including Crete); Central Greece (including Attica); Ionian Islands; Northern Greece/Macedonia Peloponnese; Western Greece

Periods: Bronze Age (3000-1000BCE), Geometric (900-700BCE), Archaic (700-480BCE), Classical (480-323BCE), Hellenistic (323-31BCE), Hellenistic-Roman (323BCE-300CE), Roman (31BCE-500CE, Byzantine (500-1400CE), Post-Byzantine (1400-1700CE), Undated.

Types: ? = undetermined; I = circular footprint;  II = rectangular footprint For  kiln typologies in Ancient Greece see below:

Gross Dimensions: 0.50-0.99; 1.00-1.49; 1.50-1.99; 2.00-2.99; 3.00-3.99; 4.00-4.99; 5.00-5.99; 6.00-6.99; 7.00-7.99 For the circular kilns, the dimensions refer to their diameter; for the rectangular kilns, the length of the longest side determines the group assignment.

 

Project Team:

The Web Atlas of Ceramic Kilns in Ancient Greece is a digital project directed by Professor Eleni Hasaki at the University of Arizona. The collection of data for the Bronze Age to Hellenistic periods is based on Hasaki's dissertation (Hasaki 2002) and the information on kiln sites from Roman to Post-Byzantine periods is based on the joint-article by Eleni Hasaki and Konstantinos T. Raptis (2016). The GIS database was developed by UA Classics Alumna Lauren Alberti, M.A. with assistance by University of Arizona Professor of Geography and Regional Development Gary Christopherson. The WebAtlas searchable interface  was developed by Tawny Lochner at the University of Arizona Social and Behavioral Sciences College IT Team, and the website by Lizeth Mora. We are grateful to all individuals for their steadfast support of the project.

 

List of Contributors:

Eleni Mbounia (Ephorate of Antiquities of Corfu): Kilns at Almyros Acharavi, Corfu; Rekini, Corfu)