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Amphoras and the Afterlife of a Commercial Port: Hellenistic Burgaz on the Datca (Knidos) Peninsula

Cover of Herom Journal
December 2019

Between 2011 and 2015, archaeological research was carried out at the Archaic through Late Antique harbors of Burgaz in southwestern Turkey. The position of the site midway along the south shore of the Knidos (modern Datça) peninsula places it in proximity to fertile farmland and ceramic industries, and affords an opportunity to study the relationship between agricultural activity, the mobilization of amphoras to contain produce, and the development of port centrality in the distribution of goods. The site’s four harbors lie to the north and south of Burgaz’s acropolis, with Harbor 1 (L1 for Liman 1, in Turkish) located closest to the settlement site and the nearby seawall area, Harbors 2 (L2) and 3 (L3), situated together just south of the acropolis, and Harbor 4 (L4) set to the north of L1 and the seawall. The Hellenistic period offers particularly fertile ground for exploration, when expanded agriculture meant that amphoras produced across the peninsula were circulating through Burgaz’s port. Drawing on finds from recent fieldwork, this article examines local Knidian-style amphoras associated with L1, the longest-lived of the city’s four harbors. The ceramic record here highlights trends in the packaging, shipment, and transfer of agricultural goods that reveal local maritime economic trajectories during the busy Hellenistic period in the southeast Aegean.