Journal of Islamic Archaeology, Vol 3, No 2 (2016)

Sphero-conical Vessels from Baalbek: A Diverse and Challenging Collection

Valentina Vezzoli
Issued Date: 15 Feb 2017

Abstract


Recent archaeological excavations in the area of Bustan Nassif, south of the citadel of Baalbek, by the DAI-Berlin, BTU-Cottbus and DGA-Lebanon, have brought to light an important urban sector occupied during the Middle Islamic period with public buildings (mosque, hammām, khān) and private houses, crossed by a main arterial road connecting one of the city gates to the city centre. A significant quantity of ceramics has been unearthed in this sector, documenting the history of common ware and fine ware productions on the site from the 12th through the early 15th centuries. Among these are numerous sphero-conical vessels from the north-eastern area, which bears witness to an important military destruction. In addition to the assemblage from Bustan Nassif, the site of Baalbek has produced numerous sphero-conical vessels from unstratified and secondary contexts. This material is particularly rich and varied, in terms of fabric, form, and surface treatment, also including some glazed items. An important sub-group of these vessels is incised with inscriptions or symbols, executed after firing, providing new perspectives on object use. The rich variety of the Baalbek assemblage recovered from good stratigraphic contexts provides new clues for understanding the function(s) of sphero-conical vessels.
Among these are numerous sphero-conical vessels from the north-eastern area, which bears witness to an important military destruction.
In addition to the assemblage from Bustan Nassif, the site of Baalbek has produced numerous sphero-conical vessels from unstratified and secondary contexts. This material is particularly rich and varied, in terms of fabric, form, and surface treatment, also including some glazed items. An important sub-group of these vessels is incised with inscriptions or symbols, executed after firing, providing new perspectives on object use. The rich variety of the Baalbek assemblage recovered from good stratigraphic contexts provides new clues for understanding the function(s) of sphero-conical vessels.

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DOI: 10.1558/jia.v3i2.32828

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