• latw-61-1
    Cooking pot. (Courtesy of the Vedat Nedim Tör Museum, Istanbul)

Cooking pot

Date
Ca. mid-sixth century BC, Lydian
Museum
Manisa, Archaeological and Ethnographic Museum, 7088
Inventory No.
7088
Sardis CATNUM
P86.071
Material
Ceramic
Object Type
Pottery
Pottery Shape
Cooking Pot
Pottery Ware
Lydian Cookingware
Site
Sardis
Sector
MMS
Trench
MMS-I 86.1
Locus
MMS-I 86.1 Locus 124
Description
Ceramic cooking pot (chytra) of clay, with many fine sand inclusions to prevent the vessel from cracking when placed on the fire (cookingware). Flat bottom, globular body, thickened rim. High-swung strap handle. Intact. Height 0.133 m, diameter of rim 0.119 m.
Comments
From the corner of the “kitchen” in a Lydian house destroyed in the mid-sixth century BC (Area 3, with Nos. 63, 78, 80, 82, 83, 84, 85, 86), together with cooking pot No. 63, and plates Nos. 82, 83, and 84. The room contained six such cooking pots, three cooking stands like Nos. 62 and 64, and a variety of other cooking equipment (see Cahill, “City of Sardis”).

The chytra or broad-mouthed cooking pot is most commonly made in coarse, gritty fabric, like this example, to withstand heat without cracking, and was often used in combination with cooking stands like No. 62 and lids like No. 64, or directly on a hearth, where examples have been found. The chytra could also be used for storage (examples from Lydian houses stored both barley and chaff, probably temporarily for everyday use), however, and they were also used in the gold refinery at Sector PN for separating gold and silver. Such multiple uses of pottery was common in Lydia and probably elsewhere in the ancient world. The same shape, but made from finer fabrics without the gritty inclusions, and so probably unsuitable for cooking, is rarer; examples include the two “jugs” from ritual dinners, Nos. 38 and 42.

Discussed
Cahill, “City of Sardis”; Greenewalt, “Bon Appetit”; Cahill, “Persian Sack”
Bibliography
Greenewalt et al. 1990, 149, n. 19; Cahill 2000
Author
NDC