Online Review: Book

Enkomi: The Excavations of Porphyrios Dikaios 1948–1958. Supplementary Catalogue of Finds

Lindy Crewe

117.1

By Vassos Karageorghis. Pp. 125, color pls. 386. A.G. Leventis Foundation, Nicosia 2011. £55. ISBN 978-9963-560-94-3 (cloth).

The aim of this volume is to complete the publication of the finds from the 1948–1958 Cyprus Department of Antiquities excavations, directed by Porphyrios Dikaios, at the important Late Cypriot Bronze Age town of Enkomi. As Karageorghis notes in his introduction (9–11), Enkomi is the most extensively excavated of the Late Cypriot settlements, investigated by a number of missions since the 1890s, but the areas under excavation by Dikaios remain the only parts of the site to be published in a final excavation report with associated stratigraphy, synthesis, and interpretation. The 400 or so finds included in the present volume were not contained within the final publication (P. Dikaios, Enkomi, Excavations 1948–58. 3 vols. [Mainz 1969–1971]).

Most of the objects were retrieved in the first two seasons (1948–1949) of Dikaios' work at Enkomi, and therefore most of the material dates to the final Late Cypriot IIC–III (ca. 1340–1050 B.C.E.) phases of the site, also including some post–Bronze Age material (10). During these early seasons, Dikaios was finding his way around the stratigraphy of the site, and the majority of the material is without close context. However, where possible, Karageorghis has included contextual information obtained from old labels (where extant), and a number of the finds have at least the allocation of a "room" number from Dikaios' recording system, which can therefore be tied into a wider understanding of the phases of the site. The volume is divided into 24 chapters, organized by artifact class and material type, and includes a concordance of Dikaios' original registration numbers with the catalogue numbers used in the present work. This enables the reader to compare the newly published material with the finds published in the original site report.

As Karageorghis notes, this work provides an opportunity to offer new interpretations on the classes of material known from earlier publications on Enkomi (11). A diverse array of artifacts is included, which should be of value to a number of specialists working in the region. The first section (chs. 1–6) details a total of 43 pottery figurines, models, and masks. An impressive group of 104 previously unpublished loom weights of a variety of forms (primarily ovoid and pyramidal with some additional infrequently occurring types) is included in chapter 7. This class of object is often neglected in publications, and Karageorghis has published this new corpus complete with the weights of the objects, allowing textile researchers to draw on this valuable data set.

Chapters 8, 9, 19, and 20 discuss the terracotta and stone objects, including further loom weights, clay spools, spindle whorls, and beads. Three unfinished cylinder seals are catalogued in chapter 18. Other classes of finds include unbaked clay sling bullets, which were found, often in caches, in the latest occupation layers at Enkomi (ch. 10). Chapter 14 includes 78 new whole and fragmentary examples of clay wall brackets. Chapter 15 adds 12 clay lamps to the Enkomi repertoire, an important addition, as clay lamps were consistently but infrequently produced throughout the Late Cypriot Bronze Age. In addition to the stone chest (ch. 16) and mortars (ch. 17) and clay objects, a small number of bone or ivory (ch. 21), faience and glass (ch. 22), and metal (ch. 23) tools, personal ornaments, and weapons supplement our understanding of Late Cypriot uses of these materials. Other chapters contain an equally diverse array of finds: disk-shaped stoppers (ch. 11), torches (ch. 12), and plain ware dippers (ch. 13). For each section, Karageorghis provides a summary of the occurrences of the types and a short discussion with bibliographic references to the major publications. This provides a useful entry into each object class for researchers interested in pursuing further studies.

The final chapter, "Potters' Marks and Potmarks" (ch. 24), by Hirschfeld, offers a valuable contribution by one of the foremost experts in this field in the Late Bronze Age Mediterranean. The catalogue increases the corpus of potmarks known from all expeditions to Enkomi, previously about 250, by a further 41 examples (42). Hirschfeld argues for a comprehensive approach to potters' marks and potmarks, taking into account vessel forms and fabrics, as well as location on the vessel and when in the lifespan of the vessel the marks were made. She demonstrates a cautious approach to identifying the simpler signs as examples of Cypro-Minoan script and calls for greater publication and awareness of simpler forms, such as thumb impressions and single lines, in order to be able to move forward understanding of the contextualized meanings of these symbols, both pre- and post-firing.

The greatest strength of the volume is its role as a visual reference tool; it is a quality production with lavish use of large-scale color photographs and accompanying line drawings. This work will be of particular value for researchers interested in comparanda of pottery artifacts or those researching other sites with which Enkomi was in contact, as it is possible to obtain a clear understanding of local forms and fabrics. The volume also serves as a valuable supplement to Dikaios' monochrome publication for examples of similar types. The great part of Enkomi excavated by the French mission remains unpublished and, as the finds were in the storerooms on site during the events of 1974, their whereabouts are unknown (9). The work of Dikaios at Enkomi, and at the other sites he excavated, remains an inspiration, attested in the large numbers of doctoral dissertations, site reports, and academic papers still dedicated to his memory. It is fitting that his work is finally completed by Karageorghis, his successor as director of the Department of Antiquities, to whom we are also grateful for his unflagging dedication to Cypriot archaeology and for the rigorous publication of his own work over many years.

Lindy Crewe
Archaeology, Manchester Museum
University of Manchester
Manchester M13 9PL
United Kingdom
lindy.crewe@manchester.ac.uk

Book Review of Enkomi: The Excavations of Porphyrios Dikaios 1948–1958. Supplementary Catalogue of Finds, by Vassos Karageorghis
Reviewed by Lindy Crewe
American Journal of Archaeology Volume 117 Number 1 (January 2013), published online at www.ajaonline.org/online-review-book/1480
DOI: 10.3764/ajaonline1171.Crewe

Add new comment

Plain text

  • Use [fn]...[/fn] (or <fn>...</fn>) to insert automatically numbered footnotes.
  • No HTML tags allowed.
  • Web page addresses and e-mail addresses turn into links automatically.
  • Lines and paragraphs break automatically.
Click "Save" to submit your comment. Please allow some time for your post to be moderated.