Pottery of the late 16th first quarter of the 18th c. from the Sofia yard of the Tobolsk Kremlin and the Upper town: comparative morphological analysis 

Zagvazdin E.P., Zagvazdina Ya.G. (Tobolsk, Russian Federation)


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The article presents morphological analysis of ceramic complexes from excavations in 2006 and 2017 in the city of Tobolsk. The pottery came from two areas: the Tobolsk Kremlin and the Upper town (9 Oktyabrskaya st.). Within this research, we aimed to conduct comparative analysis of morphology of the tableware from these sites to assess its similarities. From the two areas, 2261 ceramic fragments have been analyzed, and 200 vessels (counted by rims) from the late 16th c. first quarter of the 18th c. layers have been identified. By the production technology, the dishes are non-glazed, made mainly on the pottery wheel. Hand-made ceramics have also been found in small quantity (less than 2 %). The assemblage is dominated by pot-like dishes (94.5 %). The proportion of cupped dishes is small. Other types of dishes (large pot, washbasin pot) have been found in single numbers. Based on the appearance of rims and necks, three types of pots and five types of bowls have been identified. Comparison has been made between the diameter of the mouth and the type of pot. Further examined were the frequency of occurrence of dishes with different colors and type of surface treatment, dimensions of bottoms, frequency of adding of sand to the surface of the pottery wheel. The assemblages have been compared to the late medieval ceramics of the northern, north-western and central regions of Russia, as well as the Urals and Siberia. Comparisons have been also made with the results of other studies of the Tobolsk ceramics. Statistics show that the pottery complexes are very similar to each other, both in large groups (pot-shaped and cup-shaped ware) and by other parameters (color and type of surface treatment, rim shape, mouth and bottom size, the ratio between types and diameters of pot mouths). Differences have been identified in the proportion of higher quality light gray dishes, being 2.5 times larger in the territory of the Upper town than in the Sofia yard. The difference is also expressed in proportions of the three types of pots. Type I prevails in the territory of the Upper town, and types II and III in the Sofia court. Bowl-shaped dishes are diverse (3 types) and are present in both parts of the town. The quality light gray and black-glazed vessels of this type have been classified as tableware, partially for the lack of traces of soot. With this classification, the proportion of bowls defined as tableware constitutes 3 %. Comparison of the assemblages with the late medieval pottery from other regions of Russia revealed close analogies. But in terms of the general range of dishes, Tobolsk stands behind the cities of the European part of the country.

Key words: Tobolsk Kremlin, Upper town, archeology, ceramic complex, cultural layer, Late Middle Ages, New Time.


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This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.

Accepted: 07.09.2020

Article is published: 27.11.2020


Zagvazdin E.P.

Tobolsk Integrated Scientific Station, Ural Branch of the RAS, Acad. Yu. Osipov st., 15, Tobolsk, 626152, Russian Federation



Zagvazdina Ya.G.

Tobolsk Integrated Scientific Station, Ural Branch of the RAS, Acad. Yu. Osipov st., 15, Tobolsk, 626152, Russian Federation