1 - 2 Protogeometric Pottery [1]

@After the end of Mycenian civilization, Greek world moved to the so-called Dark age. Almost all the monumental palaces were abandoned and her major art completely disappeared. Only the pottery followed the tradition and developed new style, which was led by workshops of Attica who had less damage during the age of disturbance and recovered earlier than other cities[2].

Pottery of the period between Mycenian and following Geometric has the style called Protogeometric and techniques for the production were developed. It is generally suggested that potter's wheels turned much faster were introduced and made it possible to create vessels with thinner wall.

Different from Geometric style, only cencentric circles or semicircles and waved lines were used for the decoration. It is sometimes argued how they drew the circles[3]. The circles originated from Late Mycenian floral decoration which was highly stylized in the Sub-Mycenian period.

Except for stirrup jar and squat alabastron, most Late Mycenian shapes survived. There are three types of neck amphorae which are classified from the handles. Neck-handled amphora, survived until the Classical period or much later, has two vertical handles attached from neck to shoulder. Shoulder-handled amphora also has two vertical handles, but both ends of the handle are attached on the shoulder. Belly-handled amphora has a holizontal handle on both sides of the body. Although hydriae are already introduced in this period, they are not so popular. Kraters also survived from the previous period and are either with M-shaped handles or stirrup handles which were developed into column kraters. Oinochoe has either trefoil or round mouth. Skyphos is also the shape taken from the Mycenian repertory.

This new tradition was soon followed by other cities. By the excavations at Lefkandi, Euboia, florished Protogeometric city and many objects including pottery have been revealed[4]. Favorite pattern of Euboian workshops was pendent semicircles, generally depicted on the handle-zone of skyphoi or cups[5]. Her vessels were found from many sites around the Mediterranean Sea and some local workshops copied the decoration. These vessels are often used as the evidence of Greeks' activities.

In Peloponnesos, many cities produced their own pottery, but they share similar style and are strongly influenced by Attic style. Her influence is also obvious in East Greek workshops. On the other hand, Euboian style is followed by Cycladic and Thessarian workshops.

Crete has different development. Although the remaining preference for naturalistic representation could be the reason, we have to consider her close relationship with Cyprus. Cretan Protogeometric style was introduced when Attic workshops were about to move into the middle Geometric period. Even though some features such as concentric circles were introduced, they kept producing vessels of older shapes such as stirrup jars, which were already abandoned at the mainland. It is noticable that Cretan workshops kept depicting figure decoration and some eastern subjects such as lion hunt and sphinx were represented in silhouette[6].

[1] For Protogeometric pottery, see, Desborough, V. R.d' A. Protogeometric Pottery (1952), Desborough, V. R.d' A. The Greek Dark Ages (1972), Murray, R. L. The protogeometric style: the first Greek style (1975)
[2] For Attic Protogeometric pottery, see, Kraiker, W. and Kubler, K. Kerameikos 1 (1939), Kubler, K., Kerameikos 4, (1943).
[3] For the techniques to produce concentric circles, see, Eiteljorg, H., "The fast wheel, the multiple brush compass and Athens as home of the Protogeometric style" AJA 84 (1980) pp.445-452; J. K. Papadopoulos, et. al. "Drawing Circles: Experimental Archaeology and Pivoted Multiple Brush" AJA 102 (1998) p.509-529
[4] For Protogeometric pottery from Lefkandi, see, Popham, M. R. and Sackett, L. H., Lefkandi 1, (1980), Popham, M. R. et al., Lefkandi 2.1, (1990)
[5] For vessels with concentric circles, see, Kearsley, R, The pendent semi-circle skyphos, (1989)
[6] For Cretan Protogeometric pottery, see, Brock, J. K., Fortetsa, (1957).