The study of objects and tools related to fire in the Bronze Age has rarely been discussed in an extensive and systematic analysis, both in Sicily and the wider Mediterranean context. This paper aims to investigate the use of clay andirons in cooking practices, starting from a typological and functional evaluation of the specimens found at the Bronze Age settlement of Mursia on the island of Pantelleria, TP (1750-1450 BC). The andirons, here intended as movable clay objects used in pairs to support a ceramic vessel over a fireplace, constitute a highly diagnostic element for interpreting cooking traditions, from both a technological and cultural point of view. The abundance of clay andirons at Mursia points to a systematic use of these objects in activities related to fire, especially during the recent phases of occupation of the settlement, corresponding approximately to the middle of the 2nd Millennium BC. Besides the functional value of these objects, the presence of different types of handles and decorations can be interpreted as a distinctive cultural choice expressed by the inhabitants of Mursia in the domestic activities related to the preparation and consumption of food. The study of clay andirons of Mursia offers the opportunity to carry out a comparative analysis of similar fire supports in Sicily and neighbouring islands. Three main models of clay andirons have been identified, taking into account the general morphology and other functional and stylistic attributes, according to selected parameters: the type of andirons documented at Mursia shows a semicircular base with a hollow central body and two wide semielliptical projections to the front, while the other two models, attested in Sicily and in the smaller islands, are characterized by a hollow truncated cone-shaped body with a circular or sub-rectangular base and a pair of conical or trapezoidal projections on the top. An extension of the research for possible parallels on a long-term and interregional scale outside of Sicily is carried out with the aim of understanding the circulation of shared models and, at the same time, to highlight distinctive technological and cultural patterns among Mediterranean communities. This wide-range exploration has allowed to identify different types of andirons and fire supports and to reconstruct their distribution between the 4th and 2nd millennium, tracing possible inspiration in artifacts found in the Transcaucasian regions and in the Near East. The "horseshoe-shaped" fire stands, used as single portable hearths, are mainly attested in Anatolia, in Syria, in the Southern Levant and in Cyprus, while clay andirons, used in pairs or in groups of three, are well-documented in some Transcaucasian sites, in the Aegean and in Egypt. Although there are no close parallels, these last models (the Aegean and the Egyptian) can be regarded as possible reference points for the clay andirons documented respectively in Sicily and at Pantelleria.

Gli alari nell’abitato dell’età del Bronzo di Mursia (Pantelleria): analisi dei modelli e comparazioni tra Sicilia e Mediterraneo orientale / Debandi F., Magrì A.. - In: RIVISTA DI SCIENZE PREISTORICHE. - ISSN 0035-6514. - STAMPA. - LXXI:(2021), pp. 193-258. [10.32097/1149]

Gli alari nell’abitato dell’età del Bronzo di Mursia (Pantelleria): analisi dei modelli e comparazioni tra Sicilia e Mediterraneo orientale

Debandi F.
;
Magrì A.
2021

Abstract

The study of objects and tools related to fire in the Bronze Age has rarely been discussed in an extensive and systematic analysis, both in Sicily and the wider Mediterranean context. This paper aims to investigate the use of clay andirons in cooking practices, starting from a typological and functional evaluation of the specimens found at the Bronze Age settlement of Mursia on the island of Pantelleria, TP (1750-1450 BC). The andirons, here intended as movable clay objects used in pairs to support a ceramic vessel over a fireplace, constitute a highly diagnostic element for interpreting cooking traditions, from both a technological and cultural point of view. The abundance of clay andirons at Mursia points to a systematic use of these objects in activities related to fire, especially during the recent phases of occupation of the settlement, corresponding approximately to the middle of the 2nd Millennium BC. Besides the functional value of these objects, the presence of different types of handles and decorations can be interpreted as a distinctive cultural choice expressed by the inhabitants of Mursia in the domestic activities related to the preparation and consumption of food. The study of clay andirons of Mursia offers the opportunity to carry out a comparative analysis of similar fire supports in Sicily and neighbouring islands. Three main models of clay andirons have been identified, taking into account the general morphology and other functional and stylistic attributes, according to selected parameters: the type of andirons documented at Mursia shows a semicircular base with a hollow central body and two wide semielliptical projections to the front, while the other two models, attested in Sicily and in the smaller islands, are characterized by a hollow truncated cone-shaped body with a circular or sub-rectangular base and a pair of conical or trapezoidal projections on the top. An extension of the research for possible parallels on a long-term and interregional scale outside of Sicily is carried out with the aim of understanding the circulation of shared models and, at the same time, to highlight distinctive technological and cultural patterns among Mediterranean communities. This wide-range exploration has allowed to identify different types of andirons and fire supports and to reconstruct their distribution between the 4th and 2nd millennium, tracing possible inspiration in artifacts found in the Transcaucasian regions and in the Near East. The "horseshoe-shaped" fire stands, used as single portable hearths, are mainly attested in Anatolia, in Syria, in the Southern Levant and in Cyprus, while clay andirons, used in pairs or in groups of three, are well-documented in some Transcaucasian sites, in the Aegean and in Egypt. Although there are no close parallels, these last models (the Aegean and the Egyptian) can be regarded as possible reference points for the clay andirons documented respectively in Sicily and at Pantelleria.
2021
Gli alari nell’abitato dell’età del Bronzo di Mursia (Pantelleria): analisi dei modelli e comparazioni tra Sicilia e Mediterraneo orientale / Debandi F., Magrì A.. - In: RIVISTA DI SCIENZE PREISTORICHE. - ISSN 0035-6514. - STAMPA. - LXXI:(2021), pp. 193-258. [10.32097/1149]
Debandi F., Magrì A.
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Utilizza questo identificativo per citare o creare un link a questo documento: https://hdl.handle.net/11585/907380
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