The amphoras of ancient Abdera: new data for local production from the APAX survey
Chavdar Tzochev, Constantina Kallintzi, Eurydice Kefalidou, Mercourios Georgiadis
The Ionian colony of Abdera was one of the major ancient cities in the north Aegean, and the existence of transport amphora production there has long been suspected but has never been tested archaeologically. Abdera is considered a possible place of production of the so-called Protothasian amphoras, which were heavily exported to the Black Sea area during the late 6th–early 5th century BC. Stamps on amphora handles depicting a griffin – one of Abdera’s coin types – suggest local production in later periods, but the shapes and chronology of these amphoras have been an enigma. Since 2015, a programme for intensive field survey in ancient Abdera and its territory (Archaeological Project of Abdera and Xanthi/ APAX) has yielded rich and detailed data about amphora distribution in the area, including of several potentially local amphora types. Of particular interest are newly identified Abderan stamp types and evidence of overfired production waste and kiln spacers, which help us localize a potential workshop area, and recognize local shapes and fabrics of the late 4th–early 3rd century BC.