The systemic approach in a classification of ceramics of the Budzhak culture
The Budzhak culture that is a component of the Yamnaya cultural-historical region. The pottery (467 intact and restored vessels) comprises over 40 % of the total number of finds. The production technique used to make the vessels was a traditional one: handmade, with admixtures of grog, limestone or sand, with the surface treatment with a putty knife, tufts of vegetation, glazers. The colour varies from rose and yellow hues to dark-grey. The surface of some kind of vessels is covered with engobe.
The most common pottery forms on the north-western Black Sea Coast are pots (34.5%), ‘Budzhak pots’ (‘jars’) (18%), small amphorae and amphora-like vessels (12.2%), bowls (12%), large-size (‘corded’) amphorae (4.5%), GAC vessels (2%). In the Dniester-Prut interfluve, percentage shares of individual pottery forms are as follows: pots – 45%, ‘Budzhak pots’ (‘jars’) and pot-like vessels – 9%, small amphorae and amphora-like vessels – 4.5%, and bowls – 5.5%. Some types are so rare that only single specimens occur, while others are quite common, for instance, bowls.
The article describes the methodology for the classification of ceramics of Budzhak culture from the North-Western Black Sea region. Our work was based on a formal and typological method, which is traditional in archaeology. But elements of system analysis were also used. The systematic method allowed objectively developing classification schemes for various types of dishes. Each type of ceramic has a certain structure, which manifests itself in a system of features – constituent elements of a vessel.
The shape of the vessel and its structure are interconnected. Consideration of the structure, i.e. a combination of various morphological features characterizing the vessel defines a systematic approach to construction of various classifications of Eneolithic and Bronze Age ceramics of different territories. The following hierarchical systematisation scheme of ceramics is used in the work: order – category – type – variance.
The classification and statistical characteristics of ceramics, based on the systematic approach, are most acceptable when considering dishes made without a potter’s wheel. The molded vessels of the Budzhak culture, even originating from a same site, have certain individual differences. Application of the systemic method allows to refine the comparative characteristics of ceramics, relying on objective criteria. They are based, first of all, on creating a structural diagram of a vessel. The outsider cultures are best manifested in a shape and ornamentation of pottery. This factor makes the analysis of ceramic materials especially relevant when considering problems associated with the reconstruction of cultural and historical processes.
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