Ware/Ware Family

Cypro-Cilician Painted Wares

Turkey/Eastern Mediterranean

Iron Age I, Iron Age II-III

11th - 6th century BCE

Ware/Ware Family: Cypro-Cilician Painted Wares

Ware/Ware Family Name, Origin, and Date

Cypro-Cilician Painted Wares

Turkey/Eastern Mediterranean

11th - 6th century BCE

Iron Age I, Iron Age II-III

The Cypro-Cilician Painted wares form a ware-group with a common repertoire of vessel shapes and decorative motives. Subtypes were previously often distinguished according to their color schemes: (1.) dark or red paint on buff (“White Painted”), (2.) dark and red paint on buff  (“Bichrome”), (3.) dark paint on red (“Black-on-Red”). It is the predominant decorated ware in Cilicia in the Middle Iron Age but occurs in the Early Iron Age and in the Late Iron Age to a lesser extent alongside other decorated wares. Even though most specimens are serving vessels/tablewares, transport and storage vessels decorated thus are not uncommon.


The ware group shows strong similarities with Cypriot Pottery but is also influenced by forerunning local wares. We decided to name the ware group “Cypro-Cilician” to distinguish it from several other painted wares; e.g. “Kindergarten-Ware”, “Cross-Hatched Ware” or “Banded Ware” that are indicative for the Early Iron Age and locally produced painted ceramics of Aegean style from the Late Iron Age. There is a strong uncertainty concerning the dating of the lifetime of the Cypro-Cilician Painted ware.

Pottery of Cypriote Character (Goldman 1937, 1948)

Cilician Painted Wares of Cypriote Type (Hanfmann 1963)


The range of the Cypro-Cilician wares is commonly classified accoring to the combination of surface-color and painting color. "White-Painted" describes a dark brown, dark red or black paint on a slipped or clay surface ranging from white over tan, buff and light brown to light red. The "Bichrome" group shows an additional paint color ranging from orange over red to a dark purple red. In rare occasions the color of paint is exclusively red. "Black on Red" describes red slipped vessels with dark paint. Is has been observed that the "Black on Red-effect" is also achieved in vessels without a slip burned to brick red.


A deep bowl with two strap handles is the most common vessel shape and - along with the shallow, flat-bottomed bowl - is already common in assemblages of the Early Iron Age and stays the most popular vessel shape throughout the Middle Iron Age. While the earlier examples of all vessel types are exclusively "White Painted", "Bichrome" seems to be used predominantly on jars and "Black on Red" for small bowls and jugs. "White Painted" covers the largest range of vessel types, being applied to transport and storage vessel as well.

Vessels are generally wheelmade and the surface is often wet-smoothed. Red slip can be tool-burnished. Most vessels seem to be locally produced from a medium-fine fabric with diverse mineral temper, probably natural in the alluvial clays carried by the rivers. (Organic temper is not in use in the Cilician Iron Age.) With the diversification of vessel-shapes during the Middle Iron Age, more and more small, thin-walled vessels are being produced from a fine, untempered variation of fabric.


The decorative patterns are structured through horizontal bands that emphasize the vessel shape (i.e. painted on rim, shoulder, base and handle). Metope-style is well-known from earlier examples; through the Iron Age the elements are arranged more freely. Concentric circles and groups of thin lines are more common in later phase. Floral and pictoral designs are very rare.

Cypriot Painted wares seem to merge in Cilicia with preexisting wares, especially Red Slip ware and Banded ware. Another "Cypro-Cilician" Ware is the "Fluted ware" which occurs at the same time in Cilician as the described painted wares. It shares vessel shapes with the also slipped "Red Slip ware" and the "Black on Red" type of the "Cypro-Cilician Painted wares". Reciprocal influences with Aegean, Anatolian, Syrian and Levantine pottery traditions certainly exist but are not well-understood yet.

Turkey/Eastern Mediterranean



Site Distribution

Sirkeli Höyük (Turkey/Eastern Mediterranean)

Vessels 13
Break Photos 0
Petrographic Samples 0
Bibliography
  1. G.M.A Hanfmann. "The Iron Age Pottery of Tarsus" in Excavations at Gözlü Kule, Tarsus, Vol. III Text, The Iron Age, ed(s). H. Goldman. Princeton, New Jerse: 1963, 18-332
  2. Nurettin Arslan. in Kilikya Demir Çağı Seramiği. İthal Boyalı Seramikler ve İlişkiler. Istanbul: 2010
  3. Hodos, T., Knappet C., Kilikoglou, V.. "Middle and Late Iron Age Painted Ceramics from Kinet Höyük: Macro, Micro and Element Analyses" Anatolian Studies 55 (2005), 61–87
  4. Bossert E.-M.. "Keramik" in Karatepe-Aslantaş, Azatiwataya, ed(s). H. Çambel. 2014, 115–149
  5. Bouthillier C., Colantoni C., Debruyne S., Glatz C., Hald M.M., Helsop D., Kozal E., Miller B., Popko P., Postgate N., Steele C.S., Stone A.. "Further Work at Kilise Tepe, 2007–2011: Refining the Bronze to Iron Age Transition" Anatolian Studies 64 (2014), 95–161
  6. Hansen C., Postgate N.. "Pottery from Level II" in Excavations at Kilise Tepe, 1994–98: From Bronze Age to Byzantine in Western Cilicia, ed(s). Postgate N., Thomas D. BIAA Monograph 30. Cambridge: 2007, 343-370
Discussion/Questions/Acknowledgements