A Late Colchian Vessel and a long-lasting pattern
Dominique Kassab Tezgör, Nino Inaishvili
A vessel in the museum of Trabzon, Turkey, which can be interpreted as an amphora, is a fortuitous find from the sea. It belongs to a rare type of a globular form with a flat base. According to the few parallels known until now, it can be dated to a late period, probably around the 9th or 10th century. The fabric presents similarities with one of the two fabrics identified in Colchis, which corresponds to southeastern Black Sea. A white slip covers the surface, which is decorated all over by groups of streaks made before firing: horizontal series come across vertical ones, or sometimes oblique ones. The same patterns are present on the lower part preserved from an amphora found in Vani and dated between the late third century and the mid-first century BC. It is also visible on pithoi of the same period from the same site. Surprisingly, these patterns are still used on the pithoi manufactured today in the workshops of Shrosha in Imeriti (Western Georgia), showing an intriguing long-lasting tradition. Another interesting feature of this vessel is the vertical slits marked before firing along the middle of the handles. They are present on other types of amphorae of the late period from various provenances and can be probably interpreted as numerical marks. This vessel could be used for trading the wine between monasteries, be the ones producing and trading wine, or the consuming ones. Its small capacity shows a retail sale, while its flat base let suppose that it was directly used for consumption.