Παλαιοχριστιανική λίθινη μήτρα κοσμημάτων από ανασκαφή στην Καρδάμαινα της ΚωPart of : Δελτίον της Χριστιανικής Αρχαιολογικής Εταιρείας ; Vol.38, 1999, pages 245-252
An Early Christian Stone Jewelry Mold Found in Excavations at Kardamaina, Kos
During the 1996 excavations of a section of the early Christian settlement (5th to 7th century) at Kardamaina (ancient Halasarna) on the southern shore of Kos, diggersfound one part of a jewelry mold (length 6.6 cm., height 3.7cm., thickness 1.3 cm.) made of local argilaceous slate. It isthought to be one of a rectangular, bivalve mold. The interiorside bears shallow negative relief carvings of a cross fourchée and a simple, undecorated, disk-shaped pendant witha loop for hanging (Figs 1-2).At the lower part of the cross and the disk, funnel-shapedopenings for pouring in metal can be distinguished. Thereare circular apertures in the narrow sides of the valve, whichwere used to hold the two halves of the mold together whilemolten metal was poured inside, and by which it couldsubsequently be opened.Early Christian stone molds for the manufacture of smallpieces of metal jewelry can be seen at the Museum für Spätantike und Byzantinische Kunst in the State Museums ofBerlin, at the Benaki Museum in Athens, and elsewhere.Excavations at Kiev have brought to light more than 70stone jewelry molds, dating to the end of the 12th and thebeginning of the 13th centuries.The design of the cross in this mold, with its bifurcated ends,occurs mainly in the second half of the 6th and in the 7thcentury, both in jewelry and other crafted objects, whethercarved or made out of silver, clay, glass, or other materials(Fig. 3). During the same period the use of disk-shapedpieces of jewelry on luxury necklaces produced in centers ofthe eastern Mediterranean was common. The stone jewelrymold from Kardamaina should therefore be dated to thesecond half of the 6th or the first half of the 7th century.Stratigraphie evidence from the excavation site confirms thischronology.The simplicity of these jewelry designs and the relativelyinexpensive material used (copper alloy?) are both evidenceof the limited economic level of the users in this coastalsettlement on Kos. Their jewelry nevertheless imitated theluxury items that were being produced at the time in thelarger centers of the eastern Mediterranean.The discovery of a stone jewelry mold in the excavations ofthe early Christian settlement at Kardamaina is evidencefor the demand for such objects and for the existence of adegree of mass production. Combined with indications forthe existence of ceramic workshops, we have confirmationof manufacturing activity in early Christian Alasarna beforethe settlement was destroyed by Arab invasions in themiddle of the 7th century.