• latw-220-10
    “Asia Minor Light-Colored Ware” plate with cross. (Courtesy of the Vedat Nedim Tör Museum, Istanbul)
  • latw-220-20
    “Asia Minor Light-Colored Ware” plate with cross. (Courtesy of the Vedat Nedim Tör Museum, Istanbul)

“Asia Minor Light-Colored Ware” plate with cross

Date
Sixth - early seventh century, Late Roman
Museum
Manisa, Archaeological and Ethnographic Museum, 5347
Inventory No.
5347
Sardis CATNUM
P67.002
Material
Ceramic
Object Type
Pottery
Pottery Shape
Plate
Pottery Ware
Asia Minor Light-Colored Ware
Site
Sardis
Sector
BS
Trench
BS-E 1
Description
Small plate. High ring foot, sharply carinated shallow body. Decorated in champlevé technique, with cross within decorative bands. The carved decoration is notably off-center. Diameter 0.13 m, height 0.035 m.
Comments
“Asia Minor Light-Colored Ware” is a distinctive and very finely made late-Roman variety of pottery with a light-red-to-pink fabric and darker red slip; it is occasionally decorated, like this piece, in champlevé technique, carefully carving away the surface of the vessel after firing (Hayes 1972, 408-410, pl. XXIIIa, which is this example); Rautman 1995). Both the vessel shapes and surface decoration take their inspiration from fine table silver of the sixth and early seventh centuries. This small champlevé plate and related vessels with figural decoration would have been seen as luxuries when brought to Sardis from their as-yet undetermined place of production.

From Byzantine Shop E1, one of a row of small commercial and working spaces that lined a major avenue on the west side of Sardis. Many of the finds from these shops and contemporary houses across the street (the House of Bronzes, e.g. No. 222) reflect the prominence of Christianity in the sixth and seventh century city, while other objects from the shops attest a strong Jewish presence among the local inhabitants. The Synagogue at Sardis, the largest Jewish meeting hall known from antiquity, stood nearby. Both shops and Synagogue seem to have been abandoned, with many of their contents intact, early in the seventh century AD (see Greenewalt, “Introduction”).

Discussed
Greenewalt, “Introduction”; Byzantine Shops.
Bibliography
Hanfmann 1968, 17; Crawford 1990, E 1, figs. 175-178.
Author
NDC, MLR