Naukratis: Greeks in Egypt

Alexandra Villing, Marianne Bergeron, Giorgos Bourogiannis, Alan Johnston, François Leclère, Aurélia Masson and Ross Thomas

With Daniel von Recklinghausen, Jeffrey Spencer, Valerie Smallwood, Virginia Webb and Susan Woodford

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Supported by

The Leverhulme Trust
  • The Shelby White - Leon Levy Program for Archaeological Publications
  • Christian Levett and the Mougins Museum of Classical Art
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Ptolemaic, Roman and Byzantine pottery


Ross Iain Thomas

Pottery is by far the most common artefact group found at Naukratis, and the Ptolemaic to Byzantine pottery spans over 10 centuries of the settlement’s history, from 331 BC until around AD 650. For this reason it is of particular importance for our understanding of the changing communities living at and visiting Naukratis over this long and dynamic period. Even though the assemblage known to us today is a heterogeneous selection made by successive excavators with different sampling strategies, careful assessment of the abundant evidence enables us to investigate the three key questions often asked of such assemblages: date, origin and function. The chapter surveys the large and varied assemblage so as to provide the reader with a good understanding of these broad questions, whilst also investigating, where possible, the complex and nuanced role of pottery in the expression of identities within the cosmopolitan communities of Naukratis.


Goblet depicting man carrying a Ptolemaic amphora, dated c. 200–1 BC. Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, 88.897. Photograph © Museum of Fine Arts, Boston