Byzantine and Russian icons, £15.99
Height: 24.800 cm
Excavated by P. Gaudin (1900-1901)
Room 54: Anatolia and Urartu
Yortan culture, about 2700-2500 BC
From Yortan, modern Turkey
This pottery jug was excavated in 1900-1 from the very large cemetery site of Yortan in western Turkey. The cemetery was in use over a long time but, unfortunately, the site has been badly plundered. Many examples of Yortan pottery are housed in archaeological museums in Istanbul, Oxford, Paris, Brussels and Berlin, as well as in the British Museum.
This type of black-slipped and burnished beak-spouted jug is found in almost every grave in western Anatolia in the mid-third millennium BC as a burial offering. Many of them have white painted motifs or raised knobs around the body, and sometimed a combination of the two. It is not clear whether the vessels themselves or their contents were considered important. Similar white-painted, black-burnished pottery was exported to Mersin on the coast of south-east Turkey.
The mid-third millennium BC was a period of great activity in ancient Anatolia, with the appearance of several fortified towns. Metal artefacts now replace types that were formerly made in stone, such as axe heads and knives. The highly burnished pottery may be based on metal prototypes.
Around 2300 BC dramatic changes took place. Most towns were overcome by massive and violent destructions. The reasons for this are unclear, but subsequently the cultures of Anatolia took on new forms.
M.S. Joukowsky, Early Turkey (Kendall-Hunt, 1996)