Sorting the ‘Samians’ of the 6th and 5th centuries B.C.
Amphoras variously classified as Ionian, Samian, Milesian, and Protothasian are among the most common types found at Pontic sites of the 6th and 5th centuries B.C. Since the early 1980s Pierre Dupont has wrestled with the problem of defining their production centers. Many different producers are now known including Miletos, Ephesos, Samos, Chios, Erythrai, Teos, Kos, and Thasos. As Dupont observes, however, much uncertainty remains.
Indeed, applying these changing and developing research results is challenging in the field when attempting to make sense of countless sherds and their place in the broader history of ancient trade and economies. Is it better to be over-precise in guessing identifications or aim for the more secure, lowest common denominator? Is the individual city the necessary unit of analysis? These are not only questions of practicality (though they are that, too) but also questions of how we conceive of Archaic amphora production, filling and shipping.