Olbia Glass Vessels Made Using Core-Formed Technique

Keywords: Northern Black Sea region, Mediterranean, temenos, context, core-formed technique


Vessels made using the core-formed technique were coming to the main Greek centers of the Northern Black Sea region, especially to Olbia and Panticapaeum, in the 6th – the 1st century BC. About 280 vials made using the core-formed technique were found in Olbia. This assemblage is the largest on the northern coast of the Pontus.

The Olbia assemblage reflects the history of three consecutive Mediterranean core-formed glass industries. The most common form of the core-formed vessel in Olbia was alabastrum (108 items). In addition, 50 amphoriskoi, 10 aryballoi, 14 oinochoae, 2 unguentaria, and one hydriske are represented. The other items are very fragmented, and this prevents their typological attribution.

The core-formed vessels were coming to Olbia from the last quarter of the 6th century BC to the beginning of the 1st century AD. Most of the strictly dated vessels, just as in quantitative aspect, so in terms of typological diversity are known for the period of the last quarter of the 6th century BC – first quarter of the 5th century BC. The absolute majority of the vessels belong to the 5th century BC. However, there are fewer strictly dated vessels here; as a rule, they can be dated only to one century in general. The group of vessels of the second half of the 5th century BC allows assuming a certain decrease in the amount of core-formed vials coming into the city. The decrease is also recorded on the materials of the 4th – 3rd century BC. From the middle of the 3rd century BC, there was their almost complete disappearance, only a few items are dated to the 1st century BC – the beginning of the 1st century AD. This situation shows the general development of Olbia.

The vessels were found in the following contexts: funeral, temple-sacral, public, and housing. Findings in housing contexts are rare. Only the Lower City (NGS) gave about 20 fragments. It can be explained by a larger area of the excavation site. The vials were found in the tombs of Olbia inhabitants from the 4th to the 1st century BC. They were systematically used in the burial ritual.

In the temple-sacral contexts, the fragments of core-formed vessels were found in the temenoi of Olbia: Southern, Eastern, and Western. The biggest assemblage of core-formed vessels (29 items) was found in Southern temenos, which was presumably related to the cult of Aphrodite. The total number of core-formed vessels from temenoi exceeds the number of such items originating from public and housing contexts and is inferior only to the number of vessels found in the necropolis.

Olbia is a model site for the study of the ancient glass of the North Black Sea region.


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How to Cite
Kolesnychenko, A. (2019). Olbia Glass Vessels Made Using Core-Formed Technique. EMINAK: Scientific Quarterly Journal, (1(25), 107-118. https://doi.org/10.33782/eminak2019.1(25).213