Black is always in fashion: Early production of Dark Burnished Ware in the Neolithic of Upper Thrace
Keywords:Early Neolithic, Dark Burnished Ware, pottery production, Upper Thrace, statistical analysis
This paper aims to re-evaluate the diagnostic significance of the Dark Burnished Ware in the Thracian Early Neolithic ( first half of the sixth millennium BC). It focuses on the dark surface burnished ware produced in the southeast of Thrace and particularly in the Middle Maritsa Valley. There is a noticeable difference between the dark surface ware produced in the different parts of Upper Thrace. In the west and north parts of the region, it is characterized by dark brown and dark grayish surfaces respectively, and by conservative non-painted decoration techniques. The assemblages in the Middle Maritsa Valley include mostly black and brown-black burnished ware in greater amounts compared to the rest of Upper Thrace. Multiple decoration techniques were used in the latter part of Thrace, some of which can be considered closely associated with the dark burnished ware. The dark burnished ware production in the Middle Maritsa Valley has been attested since the very beginning of the Neolithic in amounts close to, and later even greater than, the red slipped ware. The role of the Maritsa Valley as a communication route is of particular interest in regards to the origins and distribution of the dark burnished ware production, as it most probably facilitated the early contacts between Upper Thrace and the neighboring areas to the south and southeast.