From the southern Balkans to the region of Middle Donau, so-called ‘Thracian’ pottery is dominant during the historical period. Its co-existence with wheel-made pottery also has a long history in Aegean Thrace. In the city of Mesembria-Zone, barrel-shaped urns and one-handled cups represent the ‘classical period’ of this tradition. Until now, there was no example of a site in northern Greece with pottery exclusively of this type. This ‘missing link’ has been discovered during excavations at Agios Ioannis in south-cast Thasos. The pottery from the site is completely handmade and can be attributed to a Later Iron Age phase.
The absence of interest in this pottery tradition was due to difficulties concerning its identification and dating, but also to the fact that archaeologists were more interested in the definition of the nature of Greek colonies and the clarification of the relationships between settlers and natives. The survival of ‘Thracian’ pottery has been explained up to now through the idea of identifying an artefact type as an indicative element of the ‘culture’ of its producers. In fact, the intra-communal distribution of this pottery does not reveal any special differentiation, and does not appear to be related to only one group of the population, different in terms of race or economic strength. Here, we propose an additional interpretative tool, the ideological significance of this type of pottery for the people of south-east Europe.