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Baking Eggs During the Mamluk Period. Culinary Multi-Compartment Dishes in Syria

Journal: Povolzhskaya Arkheologiya (The Volga River Region Archaeology) (Vol.2, No. 32)

Publication Date:

Authors : ;

Page : 211-218

Keywords : archaeology; Mamluk Period; pottery; Aleppo; multi-compartment dish; daily life; cooking pot; Syria;

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The archaeologist deduces from the shapes, the fabric and the various surface treatments of the pottery, their supposed functionality. Traces of consumption or utilization sometimes provide more precise information on the way they are used. However, some shapes resist interpretation like these multi-compartment dishes made in the Middle East and in the Iranian world before the Islamic period and which the manufacture is still attested in the 8th, 10th and 12th – 14th centuries. Multi-compartment ceramics have a long history in earthen crafts. The different nature of the bowls and dishes and the variety of sizes and types of compartments suggest a wide variety of uses. In museum catalogs these objects often appear under the name of sweetmeat dishes and in publications, they are generally associated with the service and presentation of cosmetics, condiments or spices. Fragmentary objects found during archaeological excavations in Syria are added to the most beautiful pieces display in museums. The study of them, uncovered in the excavations of the citadel of Aleppo and dated from the Mamluk period, introduces a new function. Made of a fine clay fabric, orange in color, with a diameter of 29 or 33 cm, they consist of an assembly of eight or seven flatbottomed bowls, glazed in green. On the exterior surface of the ceramics, traces of soot are always observed, which testify to their repeated exposure to fire. It is no longer a serving dish but specialized culinary pan. Their exact function can be defined in relation to other, more recent objects, made of metal or clay, which are considered to be stoves for cooking eggs.

Last modified: 2020-07-06 18:04:09