Trading and using RLW-m ware in Anatolia and Cyprus: evidence from petrography, neutron activation, and residue analysis
This paper tackles a twin conundrum: where in the east Mediterranean was RLW-m produced, and what was so special about its contents to make it so widely exchanged? The first question is addressed primarily through petrographic and chemical analysis of the fabrics of RLW-m ware. Samples taken from the sites of Kilise Tepe, Boğazköy, Memphis-Saqqara, Kalavassos, Hala Sultan Tekke, Kazaphani and Kouklia are remarkably homogeneous, at the macroscopic, microscopic and elemental levels. Indeed, Neutron Activation Analysis, performed by Dr Vassilis Kilikoglou at the National Centre for Scientific Research (Demokritos) in Athens , has shown that the samples form a strikingly tight compositional group, highly suggestive of a single source. The petrographic evidence at present indicates that this source may have been somewhere in the Kyrenia range in northern Cyprus , although this is very far from certain. As for the second question, a programme of residue analysis has recently been undertaken in collaboration with colleagues at the University of Bradford , in an effort to shed some light on the possible contents of RLW-m spindle bottles and other types. Although still at a preliminary stage, some very good results have already been obtained, pointing to the presence of beeswax in a number of samples, perhaps having been used as a sealant. These data will be used to offer some thoughts on the production, distribution and consumption of RLW-m ware within the broader context of Late Bronze Age trade in the East Mediterranean .
Dr Carl Knappett
University of Exeter