The use of miniature pottery in Archaic–Hellenistic Greek sanctuaries. Considerations on terminology and ritual practice
By Signe Barfoed (Independent scholar, Norway).
Miniature pottery is a widely encountered group of archaeological material that has been found in domestic, funerary, and predominantly in ritual contexts. Despite the ubiquitous presence of these small vessels, this group is generally understudied and interpretations of its meaning are lacking. Scholarship in the past perceived miniature pottery as cheap, non-functional and unimportant and therefore this pottery was often neglected or sometimes not even published. Interpretations have been sparse and by default it is believed that miniatures were the cheapest dedications the worshipper could buy. Within the last decade(s) the perceptions among scholars have changed somewhat and when miniature pottery and other votives appear together in an excavation it is often interpreted as a votive deposit stemming from a ritual context, such as a temple, shrine or sanctuary. Below a tentative terminology of miniature pottery will be presented and it will be argued that there is more to be learned about Greek ritual practice from this understudied group of archaeological material, for instance, how miniatures were used in rituals.
Signe Barfoed, ’The use of miniature pottery in Archaic–Hellenistic Greek sanctuaries. Considerations on terminology and ritual practice’, Opuscula. Annual of the Swedish Institutes at Athens and Rome (OpAthRom) 11, Stockholm 2018, 111–126. ISSN: 2000-0898. ISBN: 978-91-977799-0-6. https://doi.org/10.30549/opathrom-11-06