• latw-60-1
    Lydian Building Reconstruction (No. 60), built at Sardis, 1977-1981. (Photograph by Crawford H. Greenewalt, jr.)

Assemblage of reconstructed architectural terracottas and roof tiles

AD 1976-1981, Modern
Inventory No.
Object Type
Architectural Terracotta
Nine tiles made of clay, painted with clay slips, and fired in an electric kiln; Sardis, 1976-1981. Tiles are made of clay that had been prepared by potters at Urganlı, near Turgutlu/Kasaba. Three slips fired white, red, and black: white slip is made from primary clay, acquired in Kütahya (much of it from Mr. Sıtkı Olçar); red slip contains iron oxide; black slip contains manganese. Tiles were fired in an oxidizing atmosphere.
Architectural terracottas and roof tiles of Lydian and early Persian eras (sixth century BC) have been recovered at Sardis in some quantity, but always in fragmentary, incomplete condition (like Nos. 56, 57, 58, 59). Since they were made in a limited number of standard types, however, it is possible to recover the form and design of complete tiles by studying different fragments. The reconstructed terracottas and tiles exhibited here were made for a project undertaken at Sardis in 1976-1981, the aim of which was to illustrate a variety of complete tiles in a plausible assemblage that would reproduce the size, materials, colors, and textures of ancient originals through the use of clays and clay slips of kinds that were used in antiquity. The project was not intended to be an exercise in experimental archaeology (tiles were made of already prepared clay and fired in an electric kiln); but it yielded much practical information about forming the tiles, preparing the slips, drying and firing that is relevant to ancient production.

Several liberties in the reconstruction of tiles at Sardis (Fig. 3) were taken. There is no evidence for the combination of so many relief tile types on a single building (although all types are attested), and for the contrasting arrangement of painted roof tiles, although the types (black lozenge on white ground, red lozenge on white ground, white lozenge on red round, et al.) are attested.

Ateşlier, “Architectural Terracottas”
Hostetter 1994