A fragmentary Boeotian Kylix Ware vessel from Eleon (L) and a photomicrograph of a petrographic thin section of a BKW vessel from Eleon (R). Photos by J. Sadarananda. 

Wednesday, June 1, 2022 - 11:00am


Howard and Sharon Rich Seminar Room, Jaffe 113

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Dissertation Defense - Janelle Marie Sadarananda, "Clays, Ceramic Production, and Landscape at Archaic and Classical Eleon

Advisor: Tom Tartaron

This dissertation explores the production and use of Boeotian Kylix Ware during the Archaic period at the site of Eleon in Eastern Boeotia. Boeotian Kylix Ware (BKW) is a class of pottery particular to this region of central Greece, and was produced and used from the end of the seventh century BCE into the fifth century. BKW is found exclusively in burials and, at Eleon, in contexts related to a sanctuary on the acropolis. The 6th century BCE in Eastern Boeotia saw an increase in regional community cohesion and cooperation between settlements. Eleon’s role in the changing social, religious, and political landscape during this period, however, is unknown. This investigation uses material culture as evidence to examine changes in Boeotia during the Archaic period, and contributes to the understanding of Eleon as a local cult site during this time.

Since BKW was produced and used in a limited geographical area, and used in specific ritual contexts, it offers a window into the social relationships and identity of its creators and users. Previous scholarship suggests that BKW was produced in a few centers in Eastern Boeotia. This dissertation focuses on 95 samples of BKW from Eleon to investigate the organization of production and to infer relationships between producers and users of the pottery at Eleon and in the region. Macroscopic and petrographic analysis of Eleon’s BKW, alongside geological prospection and petrographic analysis of sediments in Eastern Boeotia, provide insight into the production process. I suggest that multiple production units were active at Eleon during this period, and I argue that even as BKW production intensified at the end of the 6th century, production was decentralized. I also suggest that BKW production was closely tied to the production of other ceramic objects deposited at Eleon’s sanctuary, particularly figurines, roof tiles, and miniature pottery. This bottom-up approach to production of BKW is an important step in understanding interactions between individuals and groups at Eleon and across Eastern Boeotia.