Skip to main content Accessibility help

Miletos: a note1

  • P. A. Mountjoy (a1)


The date of the final destruction of Late Bronze Age Miletos is examined in the light of new evidence from Ugarit, which has allowed the date of the destruction at that site to be more accurately assessed. A comparison of the pottery in the destruction layer at Miletos with that in the destruction layer at Ugarit suggests that Miletos might have been destroyed at an earlier date than usually thought.



Hide All

2 Most scholars simply date the destruction to LH III C, for example Mee, C., Anat. Stud. 28 (1978), 136 and, most recently, Greaves, A., Miletos. A History (London, 2002), 64.

3 Weickert, C., ‘Die Ausgrabungen beim Athena-Tempel in Milet 1955’, 1st. Mitt. 7 (1957), 121 n. 30 with particular reference to the amphoroid krater, ibid., pls. 33-4. 1, found in the destruction level; A. Furumark, ‘The settlement at Ialysos and Aegean history c. 1550-1400 B.c’, Op. Arch. 6 (1950), 202.

4 Mountjoy, P. A., Mycenaean Pottery: An Introduction (Oxford, 1993), 176.

5 Schachermeyr, F., Die ägäische Frühzeit, iv: Griechenland im Zeitalter der Wanderungen (Vienna, 1980), 338–9.

6 B. and W.-D. Niemeier, ‘Milet 1994–1995’, AA 1997, 205-6 with references, also 199.

7 LH III B: Macdonald, C., ‘Problems of the twelfth century BC in the Dodecanese’, BSA 81 (1986) 144, LH III C Early: J.-C. Courtois, in Acta 1973, 149–65, LH III C Middle: Schachermeyr, F., Die ägäische Frühzeit, v: Die Levant im Zeitalter der Wanderungen vom 13. bis 11. Jahrhundert v. Chr. (Vienna, 1982), 205–8. See Warren, P. and Hankey, V., Aegean Bronze Age Chronology (Bristol, 1989), 159–62 for an overview.

8 J.-Y. Monchambert, ‘Du Mycénien IIIC à Ougarit’, Orient Express (1996/2 July), 45-6, Yon et al. 15-18. See also Yon, M., ‘The end of the Kingdom of Ugarit’, in Ward, W. A. and Joukowsky, M. S. (eds), The Crisis Years (Dubuque, 1989), 118–19.

9 Bauperiode III. See Weickert (n. 3), 102-32, pl. 32. 1 top sherd, 2-4, pls. 33-4, Schiering, W., ‘Die Ausgrabungen beim Athena-Tempel in Milet 1957-1: Südabschnitt’, 1st. Mitt. 9–10 (1959-1960), 430, pls. 14-17, P. Hommel, ibid., 31-62, pls. 49. 2, 50, C. Weickert, ibid., 63-6, pl. 72, B. and W.-D. Niemeier, AA 1997, 217 figs. 29 (c), 30.

10 Singer, I., ‘Dating the end of the Hittite Empire’, Hethitica 8 (1987), 418.

11 See Yon in Ward and Joukowsky, 120. Yon has now suggested 1190/1185 (per litteras).

12 Singer, I., ‘A political history of Ugarit’, in Watson, W. and Wyatt, N. (eds), Handbook of Ugaritic Studies (Leiden, 1999), 713–15.

13 Ibid., 729-30 and n. 427.

14 The date for the beginning of LH III C Early has long been set at c. 1190 BC, but recent work at Mycenae now suggests it should be lowered to c. 1185/1180 BC, French, E. B., ‘The impact on correlations to the Levant of the recent stratigraphic evidence from the Argolid’, in Bietak, M. (ed.), Proceedings 2nd EuroConference of ‘SCIEM 2000’, 28 May-1 June 2003 (Vienna, forthcoming). Ugarit was thus destroyed in the Transitional phase or at the very beginning of LH III C Early. In terms of pottery this is simply a matter of semantics.

15 Schiering (n. 9), 5.

16 Weickert (n. 3), pls. 33-4. 1.

17 Schiering (n. 9), 24.

18 Ibid., 24.

19 See Mountjoy, P. A., ‘The East Aegean-West Anatolian Interface in the Late Bronze Age’, Anat. Stud. 48 (1998), 3367 for the Interface and the ceramic East Aegean Koine.

20 J.-C.Courtois, in Acta 1973, 151-2. Courtois emphasizes the contacts between Ugarit, Kos and Miletos. I would add Astypalaia and Kalymnos as other possible areas of contact.

21 See Akurgal, M., Kerschner, M., Mommsen, H. and Niemeier, W.-D., Töpferzentren der Ostägäis (ÖJa Erg-Heft; 3; Vienna, 2002) with references. In his contribution Niemeier claims (pp. 27, 58) that I consider the Mycenaean type pottery from the whole of west Anatolia to be almost entirely locally made. This statement is both misleading and incorrect. I have suggested that the bulk of the Mycenaean pottery from Troy may have been locally made, Studio. Troka, 7 (1997), 267; this suggestion has now been supported by chemical analysis (NAA), H. Mommsen, D. Hertel and P. A. Mountjoy, AA 2001, 169-211. I have also referred to Mycenaean pottery from Rhodes assigned by OES analysis to an Argive provenance, in the context that NAA has now highlighted the difficulties of separating the Mycenae-Berbati profile from that of other centres (n. 19), 43. At no point have I said that the pottery from the west Anatolian coast is almost entirely locally made.

22 MDP 155-6. See Mountjoy (n. 4), figs. 263-6 for typical examples of this style.

23 See Mountjoy (n. 19), 55 and 62 fig. 17 for this type.

24 Ibid., 39 and 40 fig. 2. For the South Rhodian Style see Mountjoy, P. A., ‘Mycenaean pottery from South Rhodes’, Proceedings of the Danish Institute at Athens, i (1995) 2135.

25 e.g. RMDP Attica no. 334.

26 RMDP Kos no. 190.

27 MP FM 11 fig. 33. 14; also fig. 33. 15 without dots.

28 MPVP v.41.

29 MP FM 74 fig. 72. 5 LH III B, 6 LH III C Early.

30 Weickert (n. 3), pls. 33, 34. 1. The triglyphs on this krater are fringed with half-rosettes, semi-circles, stacked triangles, and outlined solid triangles. Stacked triangles were also in use in the Interface from LH III A2, when they formed one of the components of the south Rhodian style Mountjoy (n. 24), 30 fig. 9. 2, 32 fig. 11. 1, 2, 33 fig. 12.

31 MP fig. 45 and table on 297.

32 See MPVP 166 XIII. 7 for the idea that the dolphins on the Miletos mug are eating seaweed depicted as streamers and 170-1 XIII. 28–g for a full analysis of the Ugarit kraters FIGS. 2-3.

33 J.-C. Courtois, Ugaritica VII, 330. I have not seen the sherds from Ugarit, but I have rearranged the order of the published drawings. The head top centre could belong to a third animal or to that on the left; the two lower sherds should be from the back of the vase; bottom left may be drawn upside-down, since the carination on the section is too high and I suspect the blob of paint might trickle the other way.

34 C. F. A. Schaeffer, Ugaritica II, fig. 58. 4 = Yon et al., cat. no. 299.

35 MP fig. 71 (f).

36 Schiering (n. 9), pl. 14. 2, Rohde, E., in Troja und Thrakien: Katalog zur Austellung Berlin und Sofia (Berlin, 1982), fig. 89.

37 Yon et al., cat. no. 437, Schaeffer (n. 34), fig. 61 (A–C) and fig. 94 (E). This type of lozenge also appears on Cyprus, for example at Enkomi in Swedish T. 6, Gjerstad, E., Lindros, J., Sjöqvist, E. and Westholm, A., The Swedish Cyprus Expedition: Finds and Results of the Excavations in Cyprus 1927–1931, i (Stockholm, 1934), 495 no. 73 pl. lxxix, 4th row from bottom, 6th from right, and at Palaepaphos, F. G. Maier and M.-L. von Wartburg, ‘Excavations at Kouklia Palaepaphos. Thirteenth Preliminary Report. Seasons 1983 and 1984’, RDAC 1985, pl. 11. 1.

38 The Kition vase should belong to one of the latest burials in the lower burial layer.

39 MDP LH III B1 fig. 146. 8, LH III B2 fig. 261. 3, RMDPLH III C Early Kos no. 65.

40 For drawings of the complete amphoroid kraters from Armenochori and Değirmentepe see Mountjoy (n. 19). 56 fig. 11. 57 fig. 12.

41 Also Schaeffer (n. 34), figs. 60. 19, 95. 27.

42 Ibid., fig. 59. 45. A conical rhyton, ibid., fig. 58. 8, has whorl-shells with vertical lines down the body, but the whorl-shells still have an oval head.

43 MDP fig. 156. 1.

44 MP fig. 47. 51-3.

45 The motif on the krater from Ugarit (FIG. 6. 1) has been interpreted as a stylized tree (Yon et al, 61. Cat. 431). A Cypriot provenance is indicated for this piece loc. cit., but its gold mica, pink-orange grits, and lemon slip would not be out of place in the Interface.

46 MP fig. 68. 31-5.

47 RMDP 513-14.

48 Popham, M. and Milburn, E., ‘The Late Helladic IIIC pottery of Xeropolis (Lefkandi), a summary’, BSA 66 (1971), 340; MDP fig. 203.

49 Mountjoy (n. 19), 54.

50 Schiering (n. 9), pl. 14. 3 left, burnt in the final destruction (ibid., 23).

51 Heilmeyer, W.-D., Antikenmuseum Berlin: Die ausgestellten Werke (Berlin, 1988), 25 no. 3 inv. 316901. The motif on this vase does not terminate in a full spiral; it is a cross between the spiral and the double stem motif.

52 Courtois (n. 33), 332.

53 Schiering (n. g), pl. 14. 2.

54 Courtois (n. 20), 151 fig. 6.

55 Mountjoy (n. 19), 53-65.

56 For example Schiering (n. 9), pl. 15.

57 Mountjoy (n. 19), 55-7 figs. 1-12.

58 Weickert (n. 3), pl. 32. 1 top.

59 Weickert (n. 3), pl. 32. 2.

60 MDP 134-5.

61 Mountjoy (n. 19), 54. See also RMDP 1080 n. 733, for the suggestion that the pictorial style on Kos may have already started to circulate in LH III C Early.

62 Five pictorial LH III C pieces are published: a sherd with a possible Hittite hat, Weickert, , 1st. Mitt. 9–10 (1959-1960), pl. 72. 1, and with a boat, ibid., pl. 72. 2, with a goat, P. Hommel, ibid., pl. 48. 2-3, with a boar, Voigtländer, W., ‘Milets Beziehungen zur Argolis in späthelladischer Zeit’, in Müller-Wiener, W. (ed.), Milet 1890–1980 (1st. Mitt. Beiheft 31; Tübingen, 1986), 34 fig. 10 (B), and with a fish, B. and W.-D. Niemeier, AA 1997, 217 fig. 30. Voigtländer illustrates just one or two other decorated pieces which would be LH III C Early in Mainland terms: loc. cit., deep bowls 28 fig. 4 (C, (D), (F), (G) and sherds with nipples, 33 fig. 9 (C-G), which may belong to collar-necked jars FS 63, although this shape is not common in the Interface (RMDP 1036). Voigtländer gives no context for any of the pieces illustrated. A deep bowl from Miletos with a fat wavy line and a monochrome interior is dated to LH III C Middle–Late on Greek Mainland parallels (Niemeier and Niemeier, op. cit, 217 fig. 29 c and 218). The bell shape with flaring rim indeed suggests a LH III C date for this vase, but the popularity of wavy lines at Miletos in the third settlement, especially a fat version (Voigtländer, op. cit., 30 fig. 6. Voigtländer suggests (ibid., 21) this motif is typical of Milesian workshops) and in the Greek Mainland Transitional LH III B–III C Early phase suggests the bowl could be LH III C Early or Transitional. A further possible Transitional deep bowl (Weickert (n. 3), pl. 32. 3) also has a fat wavy line and the rim banding usually found on the stemmed bowl which is one of the features of Transitional deep bowls; it was found in the uppermost layer. The only piece that might cast doubt on a Transitional or LH III C Early date for the destruction is an odd-shaped deep bowl with a carinated lower body and a high conical foot (Voigtländer op. cit., 33 fig. 9 B) I can find no parallels for this piece. One deep bowl has a reserved interior band below the (ibid., 30 fig. 6 D). A reserved interior band just below the rim is a criterion of LH III C Middle (Popham and Milburn (n. 48), 339 fig. 4. 2-3), but the band on this bowl is too far below the rim to belong to this type.

63 See RMDP 1138-45 for these tombs.

64 The pottery from Baklatepe on exhibit in İzmir Museum and that so far published, T. Özkan, İzmir Arkeoioji Müzesi. Seramik Kataloğu (İzmir, 1999), 26, T. Özkan and H. Erkanal, Tahtali Dam Area Salvage Project (İzmir, 1999), 186 figs. 11, 12, supports this date, but confirmation must await the full publication of all the pottery from the tomb.

1 I am very grateful to Dr T. Özkan and Dr J. Dedeoğlu for access to the Miletos mug. I should also like to thank Professor M. Yon and Dr O. Callot for useful discussion concerning the end of Ugarit and Dr E. French and Dr H. W. Catling for reading and commenting on the manuscript.


Acta 1973 = V. Karageorghis (ed.), Acts of the International Archaeological Symposium The Mycenaeans in the Eastern Mediterranean, Nicosia 27th March–2nd April 1972 (Nicosia, 1973).

FM = Furumark Motif.

FS = Furumark Shape.

MDP= P. A. Mountjoy, Mycenaean Decorated Pottery: A Guide to Identification (SIMA 73; Göteborg, 1986).

MP = A. Furumark, Mycenaean Pottery: Analysis and Classification (Stockholm, 1941).

MPVP = E. Vermeule and V. Karageorghis, Mycenaean Pictorial Vase Painting (Cambridge, Mass, 1982).

RMDP = P. A. Mountjoy, Regional Mycenaean Decorated Pottery (Rahden, 1999; given to press in 1995).

Yon et al. = M. Yon, V. Karageorghis, and N. Hirschfeld, Céramiques mycéniennes d'Ougarit (Ras Shamra-Ougarit, 13; Paris, 2000).

Related content

Powered by UNSILO

Miletos: a note1

  • P. A. Mountjoy (a1)


Full text views

Total number of HTML views: 0
Total number of PDF views: 0 *
Loading metrics...

Abstract views

Total abstract views: 0 *
Loading metrics...

* Views captured on Cambridge Core between <date>. This data will be updated every 24 hours.

Usage data cannot currently be displayed.