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Neutron activation analysis of Aegean-style IIIC pottery from the Goldman excavations at Tarsus-Gözlükule
Anatolian Studies  (IF),  Pub Date : 2018-06-11, DOI: 10.1017/s0066154618000030
P.A. Mountjoy, H. Mommsen, A. Özyar

The appearance of Aegean-style IIIC pottery at Tarsus occured at a time of unrest and of movement of peoples resulting in part from the collapse of the Mycenaean palaces on the Greek mainland. Mycenaean Late Helladic IIIB pottery exports from mainland Greece to Cyprus and the Levant disappeared and were gradually replaced by local imitations. Eventually Aegean-style IIIC pottery appeared in the East Aegean-West Anatolian Interface, in Cyprus and at various sites on the southern coast of Turkey and in the Levant. It was not exported from the Greek mainland, but seems to have been locally made at each site. A first series of neutron activation analysis (NAA) was carried out on pottery from Tarsus to determine how much of the Aegean-style 12th-century BC pottery was locally produced, how much was imported and, if imported, from whence it came. The favourable results of this first analysis gave rise to a second NAA of more Aegean-style pottery from Tarsus, bringing the total number of pieces analysed to 67. It has confirmed the local production of the pottery; the chemical group TarA is the dominant local group at Tarsus, comprising a third of the samples. A smaller group, TarB, may also be local. The analysis revealed a large number of Aegean-style IIIC imports from Cyprus from several different sites; these make up a quarter of the samples. There are a few imports from other areas, including the East Aegean-West Anatolian Interface. Influence from both Cyprus and the Interface can also be seen at Tarsus in the use of some shapes and motifs. A comparison with 12th-century BC imports identified by NAA at the site of Tell Kazel (ancient Simyra) in Syria directly east of Cyprus shows imports from the same two areas.