The Transformation of Pontic Trade from Late Antiquity to the Middle Ages: Transport Vessels from the Archaeological Museum of Sinop [Paperback]

Dr Gergely Csiky(Author)

ISBN: 9789639911963 | Published by: Archaeolingua | Series: Series Minor | Volume: 40 | Year of Publication: 2020 | Language: English 182p, H9.25 x W6.49,
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The Transformation of Pontic Trade from Late Antiquity to the Middle Ages


Sinope was one of the major harbors of the southern Black Sea coast during Antiquity and the Middle Ages situated on the northernmost point of Anatolia circa 200 km from Crimea across the sea. Due to its location, the city was a node in trans-Pontic communication throughout its history.

The evaluation of early medieval trade is limited by some chronological problems of the so-called Byzantine ’Dark Ages’, Anatolian pottery with few exceptions is not well-dated from eighth-ninth centuries. One potential solution to this problem is a comparison of the transport vessels stored in Sinop Archaeological Museum (Sinop Arkeoloji Müzesi) with the amphorae and transport jugs from the northern Black Sea coast, where vessels of this type are often recovered from closed archaeological contexts and even the kilns of the workshops of these eighth–ninth-century amphorae have been discovered.

The study of the late antique and early medieval amphorae in the collection of the Sinop Archaeological Museum shed new light on the long-term trends in the sea trade of the Black Sea. The types, origin, and distribution of the amphorae presented in this volume reveal a declining tendency in trans-maritime trade together with a decreasing distribution and increasing centralization in amphora production. Crimean amphorae and Tmutarakan jugs show connectivity of the Byzantine cities, such as Sinope on the southern shore of the Black Sea with the Khazar and later Rus territories. This would suggest that the late antique maritime network of the Black Sea did not vanish without a trace – it quite certainly survived, although on a much smaller scale and with a smaller volume.

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