Marks incised or painted on Eastern Mediterranean pottery from the Late Bronze Age – generically known as «potmarks» – have been extensively studied in the past two decades. Incised markings have also appeared on ingots and other metallic supports, although these have arguably received less attention. It has long been clear that some of these marks consist of signs drawn from existing writing systems, with Cypro-Minoan playing a special role, and this has contributed to scholars’ research on the relationship between marks and script. However, many unknowns remain. An old and significant problem relates to difficulties in assessing which marks can be securely identified with Cypro-Minoan signs, stemming from the lack of a detailed palaeographical study of the script’s signary. Recent advances in our knowledge of Cypro-Minoan, especially with regards to the palaeographic variation and identity of its signs, now enable us to better understand which marks are extracted from that writing system and which are not. With a special focus on ingot- and potmarks from the Eastern Mediterranean and Sardinia, this article discusses methods for distinguishing Cypro-Minoan marks from non-Cypro-Minoan marks. It is argued that a greater number of marks can now be securely identified with signs of the Cypro-Minoan script. In a second stage, findings are compared with other parameters, such as vessel shapes and functions, find-spots and places of import, and methods (incised or painted) and timings (before or after firing or casting) of the marks. This re-evaluation reveals no significant distribution patterns, suggesting that many different marking systems might have been in use or that the choice of Cypro-Minoan signs used as marks was not very systematic. In our conclusions, we discuss the implications of these results for our knowledge of the dynamics of Bronze Age Cypriot society.
File in questo prodotto:
Eventuali allegati, non sono esposti