Hellenistic Terracottas: The Evidence from Ancient Arsinoe

In: Hellenistic and Roman Terracottas
Author: Nancy Serwint

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Abstract

The ancient sites of Marion and Arsinoe, located in North-West Cyprus, have produced an unprecedented number of terracotta sculptural materials, and with a corpus numbering over 30,000 fragments, the recovered objects form the largest cache of sculpture in clay yet found on the island. Encompassing a diversity of iconographic types and sizes with a chronological span extending from the Cypro-Archaic into the Hellenistic period, the material provides an excellent dataset to which numerous questions about the coroplastic arts can be posed. Study of the corpus reveals that marked differences exist between the terracottas of Archaic/Classical Marion and Hellenistic/Roman Arsinoe, and those differences are critical to the discussion of how sculptural production developed and how terracottas functioned over time at a single location. Different contexts dictated disparate iconographic types and distinct typological forms. Close examination of key archaeological remains has allowed for identification of local terracotta production, providing important details given the relative paucity in the scholarly literature on coroplastic technical strategies.

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