- Also known as
- Red Polished Ware
- Scope note
- Red Polished Ware is a term applied to pottery of the Cypriot Bronze Age. Ceramics in this ware were hand-made, monochrome vessels with smooth surfaces, slipped in red or red-brown slips and burnished to a medium or high lustre. They had a diverse range of vessel forms, which included elaborate ritual vessels and zoomorphic shapes. Decorations were commonly incised motifs, relief decorations or mottled surfaces. Black rims and interiors to vessels were often created by use of specific and well-controlled firing techniques.
Red Polished Ware was first introduced in the very early in the Bronze Age as part of the Philia culture (c. 2450/2400–2300/2250 BC), and overlapping with the Early Cypriot I. It is mainly associated with the Early Cypriot (EC) (c. 2300–1950 BC) and Middle Cypriot (c. 1950–1650 BC) periods, although some of the ceramics extended into the early stages of the Late Cypriot periods (c. 1650–1550 BC).
The traditional classification system for Red Polished Ware is that of Stewart (1962, 1988–2012), which has four major chronological divisions, I-IV. However, because it was based almost exclusively on material from a small number of cemetery sites in northern Cyprus, mostly Lapithos Vrysi tou Barba and Bellapais Vounous, it has not always proved useful for classifying material from subsequent excavations in the centre and south of the island at sites, such as Marki-Alonia (Frankel 2006, 105ff and esp. pp. 108-9) and Psematismenos-Trelloukkas (Georgiou et al. 2011, 194ff). Alternative typologies have therefore been introduced which take into account regional diversity as discussed by Webb and Frankel (2013). Red Polished Ware may therefore be classified as Red Polished I-II (north coast) or (mottled) and Red Polished III and IV. The descriptions for these types are recorded in the Type Series notes.
Frankel D. and Webb J.M. 2006, 'Marki Alonia. An Early and Middle Bronze Age settlement in Cyprus. Excavations 1995-2000', SIMA CXXIII:2, Sävedalen.
Georgiou G. et al. 2011, 'Psematismenos-Trelloukkas. An Early Bronze Age cemetery in Cyprus', Nicosia.
Stewart J. R. 1988–2012, 'Corpus of Cypriote artefacts of the Early Bronze Age, Parts 1–4', (SIMA 3:1–4) Göteborg, Jonsered, Uppsala.
Stewart J. 1962, "The Early Cypriot Bronze Age", in: 'The Swedish Cyprus Expedition Volume 1A', Lund, 205-401.
Webb J.M. and Frankel D. 2013, 2, "Cultural regionalism and divergent social trajectories in Early Bronze Age Cyprus" in: 'American Journal of Archaeology', 117, 59–81.