Ware/Ware Family

Late Phrygian Dotted Triangle Ware

Turkey/Central

Achaemenid Persian

5th-4th century BCE

Ware/Ware Family: Late Phrygian Dotted Triangle Ware

Ware/Ware Family Name, Origin, and Date

Late Phrygian Dotted Triangle Ware

Turkey/Central

5th-4th century BCE

Achaemenid Persian

Dotted Triangle Ware is a ware group first identified as such by G. Kenneth Sams at Gordion in Central Anatolia. The vessels look quite different from other ceramics on the site and were initially believed to represent a new cultural element or a development related to neighboring traditions (Stewart 2010, p. 52-54). Vessels found in clear contexts are dated to the 5th and 4th centuries BCE, i.e. the so-called Late Phrygian period.

Neutron Activation Analysis of DTW vessels shows that they were produced from local clays in the environment of Gordion (Kealhofer et al., forthcoming). They are made of fine orange fabrics with small round voids. Vessel surfaces are normally well smoothed and occasionally self-washed. Painted horizontal and vertical bands form panels filled with alternating geometric, floral and schematic animal motifs. Predominant are geometric motifs, which include triangles, circles and lozenges filled with dots, diminishing triangles, running "S" motif. Panels filled with such designs are found on upper bodies, while ladder and chevron decoration is usually placed on rims. Paints vary in color from bright orange to red, purple and dark brown. They are often sintered, but quality varies.

Dotted Triangle decoration is only used on a number of vessel shapes: column kraters, dinoi and jugs. Those apparently formed table sets along with a group of bowls made of the same fabrics and painted with the same paints. The bowls have tall ring feet and upright rims, and are decorated on the interior with concentric bands. They are therefore termed "banded bowls". Exteriors of banded bowls are only decorated on the uppermost part under the rim, which is also usually painted red.


Comparisons with decorated table sets from earlier periods in Gordion and vessels from other Anatolian sites have led to the conclusion that DTW belongs to a century-long ceramic tradition of the region. Vessels and fragments with red painted decoration have been found at Hattuşa, Çadır Höyük, Alaça Höyük, Daskyleion, Klazomenai, Kelainai, Zivra, Larisa, Smyrna, Ephesos and Priene. Their dates span a long period from the 12th until the end of the 4th century BCE.


Back at home in Gordion DTW finds origins in the so-called Brown-on-Buff Ware from Early Phrygian levels dating to the 9th and 8th centuries BCE. The color scheme of that ware is different, but multiple designs including dotted triangles and lozenges, ladder and running "S" motif, dots-between-lines and stylized animals are used on decorated table sets consisting of kraters, dinoi, jugs and bowls. Because the Early Phrygian vessels have pale buff surfaces completely covered with meticulously painted brown designs including many other motifs, the links between Brown-on-Buff and DTW are at first glance difficult to see. But the parallels in both vessel shapes and a number of the motifs reveal connections between the ceramic traditions in the Early Phrygian and the Late Phrygian periods.


Neither Brown-on-Buff Ware nor Dotted Triangle Ware have been found in contexts dating to the 7th and 6th centuries BCE at Gordion. 

The vessels are made of fine orange fabrics with small round voids. Vessel surfaces are normally well smoothed and occasionally self-washed. 

Painted horizontal and vertical bands form panels filled with alternating geometric, floral and schematic animal motifs. Predominant are geometric motifs, which include triangles, circles and lozenges filled with dots, diminishing triangles, running "S" motif. Panels filled with such designs are found on upper bodies, while ladder and chevron decoration is usually placed on rims. Paints vary in color from bright orange to red, purple and dark brown. They are often sintered, but quality varies.


Dotted Triangle decoration is only used on a number of vessel shapes: column kraters, dinoi and jugs. 

Site Distribution

Gordion (Turkey/Central)

Vessels
Break Photos
Petrographic Samples
Bibliography
  1. Bacheva, Galya. "Pretty Pots on the Table: Dotted Triangle Ware in Late Phrygian Gordion" Istanbuler Mitteilungen 68 (2018), 59-86
  2. Bacheva, Galya. "Cooking and Dining in Late Phrygian Gordion" ed(s). R. Gül Gürtekin-Demir, Hüseyin Cevizoğlu, Yasemin Polat and Gürcan Polat. Keramos. Ceramics: A Cultural Approach, Izmir, May 9-13, 2011. Proceedings of the First International Conference at Ege University. Ankara: Bilgin Kültür Sanat Yayınları, 2015
Discussion/Questions/Acknowledgements