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                            The Development of Mycenaean Pottery  
Commynication with Egypt  


Mycenaean pottery, as an art associated with daily life, continuously changed and developed. This is why it constitutes a secure and useful chronological criterion for the dating and arrangement of the sequential periods of Mycenaean civilization. The excavation of settlements usually produces fragmentary vases and pottery sherds, while whole vases are generally found in tombs.

Early Mycenaean pottery (Late Helladic I and II, 16th-15th centuries BC) combines the earlier Middle Helladic tradition with the pottery styles of Minoan Crete. This synthesis took place either in Lakonia or the Argolid. However, the Argive pottery of the Mycenaean period was distinguished from its very beginning by the high quality of its light-coloured clay and glossy brown-black paint, and its strong influence on the pottery styles of mainland Greece. Late Helladic I pottery comprises mainly small vases, while larger vases are still manufactured in the Middle Helladic tradition. The large Late Helladic II Palace Style amphora, with its plant and marine decorative motifs, was an impressive Mycenaean creation, which also spread to Crete. On the other hand, the bridge-spouted or hole-mouthed jar was a typically Cretan shape. Finally, Ephyraean Style decoration, which consists of a single motif on the surface of the vase, is most popular on goblets (the first of which were found at Korakou, ancient Ephyra, near Corinth) and jugs.

 During the 14th and 13th centuries BC (Late Helladic IIIA and B), a period of cultural conformity, pottery is characterized by the consistent high quality of the clay and the general uniformity of decoration throughout the Argolid,
Attica and other regions of the Mycenaean world. Stylized plant, animal or simple linear motifs organised into groups decorate stirrup-jars, jugs, kraters, skyphoi and kylikes, which are the commonest shapes. Mycenaean pottery spread throughout the Mediterranean, as far as Syria, Egypt and Spain. Pictorial Style pottery, consisting mainly of kraters with human, chariot, horse and bull representations, produced at Berbati in the Argolid, was exported to Cyprus where it was
widely imitated. 

In the 12th cent. BC (Late Helladic IIIC), after the destruction of the palatial centres, artistic uniformity was disrupted and a number of local workshops with their own traits evolved. Granary Style pottery, specimens of which were found in an underground storeroom near the Lion Gate in the citadel at Mycenae, has simple linear decoration. Argive workshops produce the so-called Close Style, characterized by numerous tiny abstract motifs. The Pictorial Style continued to evolve, while the Octopus Style, with representations of octopuses, fish, birds and complementary motifs was popular in the Dodecanese, the Cyclades and Crete. Towards the end of the Mycenaean period, the transitional sub-Mycenaean pottery of the 11th cent. BC comprised largely small vessels with simple linear decoration, which were the precursors of Greek Geometric styles.






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