Ottoman cups found in Smyrna Agora
Hundreds of Kütahya cups from the Ottoman period have been unearthed during the archaeological excavations in the Smyrna Agora in İzmir.
The history of the Smyrna Agora, one of the largest ancient agoras in the city center of İzmir, is being revealed. Thousands of objects from different periods have been discovered in the city, which was founded by Alexander the Great on an area of 193 hectares, stretching from Kadifekale to Kemeraltı districts.
Within the scope of the recent works, carried out under the leadership of Associate Professor Akın Ersoy, a lecturer at İzmir Katip Çelebi University, Department of Turkish-Islamic Archeology, hundreds of Kütahya cups from the Ottoman period were unearthed.
“We must say that Kütahya cups have an important place among the objects. The greatest number of Kütahya-produced cups were found in an archaeological excavation in Anatolia in terms of the Turkish-Islamic period,” Akın said.
Stating that the excavations of the ancient city of Smyrna were carried out in the Historical City Center of Konak district, Ersoy said, “We have been continuing works here since 2007. The foundation of the city in Konak district dates back to Alexander the Great. Therefore, this city has lived the Hellenistic Period, Roman Period, Byzantine Period and Ottoman Period to the fullest from Alexander the Great to the present day.”
Stating that many daily objects and architectural remains from these periods have survived, Ersoy said, “We are trying to uncover them. İzmir has a multi-layered structure. We respect all these layers. We have obtained a large number of daily life materials from the Ottoman period. There is an incredible range of materials from locally produced ceramic materials used by the people of İzmir during the Ottoman period to products imported from the West,” he said.
Associate Professor Sevinç Gök İpekçioğlu, a faculty member at Ege University, Department of Art History, is also conducting studies on Ottoman and European ceramics in the Smyrna excavations. She said the following:
“Coffee culture was very important in the Ottoman Empire and coffee was very popular. One of the most important elements of coffee culture is cups. Cups produced in Kütahya, especially in the 18th century, have spread to every corner of Anatolia. These cups were produced by local masters in workshops and sent to many cities. One of these cities was Smyrna. Many materials were unearthed in Smyrna, which raises the possibility that there may be many coffee shops, glassware shops in the region or they were used in homes.”
Giving information about the motifs on the cups, Gök said, “These are very important examples that they produced with the technique of free brush strokes or needle stencils. In addition to cups, plates, bowls and coasters are among the finds. There are also signatures on the cups. We were able to detect two of the signatures. We can see the word ‘ayvaz’ written in Ottoman language. There is also a ‘yazıcı’ signature, of which there are very few examples. Especially with the development of the port city in İzmir and the Turkish settlement, Agora became a very important Ottoman settlement area. Depending on the settlement here, both kitchen utensils and daily life materials were found in abundance. Among them these hundreds of cups also constitute an important group.”