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Trade Connections of Chersonesos (Cherson) in the 8th–14th Centuries on the Basis of Ceramic Finds

Larysa Sedikova, National Preserve of Tauric Chersonesos, Summer Fellow 2009/10

The ancient city of Tauric Chersonesos, founded by the Greeks in the 5th century BC, is one of the most famous Antique and Byzantine sites of the Black Sea North Region. The study of mass finds, primarily pottery, allows the tracing of the cultural and economic connections of the city in the medieval period. My research focuses on imported transport-ware and tableware excavated in Chersonesos. My search for analogies was substantially successful through the study of new literature from the Dumbarton Oaks Library.

Thus, according to pottery finds, Constantinople and its environs, along with the Don River and Azov Sea regions, were the main trade areas for Cherson in the 8th–11th centuries. The Middle East is represented with individual finds. From the 12th century through the first half of 13th century, while metropolitan pottery still predominated, a considerable percentage of imported wares came from the Aegean region. In the early 13th century, a collection of Asia Minor pottery, probably Syrian, appeared in Cherson. Part of pottery also originated from the Muslim countries. It is possible that imported 14th-century finds associated with Constantinople, Trebizond, and Eastern Crimea reached Cherson through the neighboring Genoese fortress of Cembalo. The discovery of new regions exporting pottery to Cherson allows broader consideration of the nature of its cultural and economic relations during the 8th–14th centuries. The results of this research will be published in a series of articles.

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