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Title: Archaic trade in the northern Aegean : the case of Methone in Pieria, Greece
Author: Kasseri, Alexandra
Awarding Body: University of Oxford
Current Institution: University of Oxford
Date of Award: 2015
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Recent discoveries near the village of Nea Agathoupoli, in Pieria, Greece have revealed the remains of an ancient town, identifiable with the ancient town of Methone, a putative Eretrian colony founded, according to Plutarch, in ca. 733 BC. From the material excavated so far, the town’s zenith was in the Late Geometric and Archaic periods, well documented by the high amounts of imports from all regions of the ancient world, especially by imported transport vessels. The significant percentage of transport amphorae in comparison to that of fine pottery strongly indicates the settlement's commercial character and suggests that Methone was operating as a redistribution centre which supplied Macedonia's hinterland with goods. This study is based on unpublished pottery analyzed here, for the first time. Among the regions, whose products are most popular in Methone are Chios and Athens, although more Eastern Greek towns such as Samos and Miletus had trading relations with Methone, too. Settlers from the these regions may have established themselves in Methone, but the initiative for the foundation of the town was, most probably, taken by Euboeans, whose activity in the Northern Aegean, in the Geometric period, was strong. Alongside the abundant imported vessels, a large amount of locally made transport vessels was unearthed. These early archaic amphora types (early 6th century BC), which have also been found in other sites in the Northern Aegean and possibly Northern Ionia, have been known in literature by my study. The discovery of these local transport vessels reveals participation by the local population in trading transactions and manufacture of a product which was packaged and circulated among the Northern Aegean towns. A mixed cultural environment starts to form in archaic Methone and includes Euboeans, Eastern Greeks, local Thracians and others, including Macedonian neighbours. Having emerged as the most powerful military force of the area, the Macedonians residing in nearby Bottiaia, constantly expanding, were, arguably, involved in the commercial activities at Methone. This study suggests that because of Methone's geographical location and proximity to the capital of the Macedonian kingdom, Aigai (modern Vergina), Methone functioned as the capital's face to the sea, as the royal harbour of Macedonia, until it was destroyed by Philip II, in 354 BC when all activities related to trade moved to neighbouring Pydna. Methone's finds together with other Northern Aegean settlements mentioned in this study reveal how important, even indispensable, this part of the ancient world was to the commercial networks of the archaic Mediterranean. The Northern Aegean is, therefore, not only well integrated into networks connecting southern and Eastern Greece, Egypt and the Levantine coast, but constitutes a vital part of them from the 8th century BC, onwards.
Supervisor: Lemos, Irene S. Sponsor: A.G. Leventis Foundation
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available
Keywords: Archaic Greek Commerce ; Macedonia ; Trade ; Geography and History of Ancient Macedonia ; Methone ; Amphorae ; Ancient Greek Colonies of the Northern Aegean ; Ancient Commerce ; Archaic Greece ; Ancient Macedonia ; Ancient Euboeans