Lecture by Dr Jill Hilditch (Tracing the Potter’s Wheel, University of Amsterdam), "Tracing the conical cup"
This lecture marks the opening of the interactive exhibition Tracing
the Conical Cup, a visual exploration of the innovative ways we can
look at these objects to shed light on the innovative practices of the
Minoans, and communities of the wider Aegean. In this exhibition, you
will find three ways of looking at cups: ceramic analysis, forming techniques,
and 3D visualization.
People have been making the humble cup for thousands of years, whittling them
from wood or bone, casting them in metal, or shaping them from clay. What is
exciting for archaeologists is that plastic cups of today have a strong connection with
ceramic cups in prehistory.
The conical cup is a small, handleless and usually undecorated cup, which can teach us
about the lives of the Minoans of Crete, as well as other regional communities of the Aegean
during the Bronze Age. Despite their plain, featureless design, these little cups appear at
archaeological sites far from the Cretan palaces, throughout the other islands of the Aegean and
the western coast of Anatolia. What made these cups so popular? And how can archaeologists
begin to answer such questions?