EN-1 potsherd

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Classification: bowl
Material: pottery
Size: length: 7.5 cm, height: 6.5 cm, thickness: 5 mm
Condition: fragmentary
Archaeological culture: La Tène A, La Tène B
Date: first half of the 5th–middle of the 3rd centuries BC
Date derived from: typology, archaeological context

Site: Ardez (fraction of: Scuol, Graubünden, Switzerland)
Field name: Suotchastè
Archaeological context: field No. 3
Coordinates (approx.): 46° 46' 27.44" N, 10° 12' 17.68" E
Find date: 11.8.1969
Find circumstances: excavation in cause of construction works
Current location: Rätisches Museum Chur (on exhibition)
Inventory Nr.: P 1973.2842

Inscription: EN-1 (aχ?[)

Sources: Risch 1989: 1580 (No. 1), fig. 7
Caduff 2007: 15–16, 43–45, 74 (No. 222), pl. 14.222



Ceramic fragment.
Body sherd of a bowl. Due to the fragmentary state an exact attribution to a determined bowl type is not possibile. However the ceramic fragment comes from a bowl belonging to the Fritzens-Sanzeno pottery.
Hard-fired clay; temper from fine to medium-fine (temper type M2 in accord with Caduff; cp. Caduff 2007: 74 and table 5); temper of fine grained sand and cast gold as well as fine grained lime. Mixed fire; outside oxidation firing, light red brown in colour; inside principally reduced firing, from light red brown to black in colour. Highly burnished.
The above-mentioned dimensions result of the autopsy by the Thesaurus Inscriptionum Raeticarum. The dimensions given on the index card of the museum are: L: ca. 7,3 cm; H: ca. 4,6 + cm.
Outside the ceramic fragment characters, incised before firing. The potsherd from Suotchastè is very important because of the alphabetic characters the fragment bears. Related to the characters it is the most occidental evidence known so far.
The ceramic fragment was found 1969 during an excavation in Suotchastè near Ardez. In consequence of construction works (enlargement of the principal road in Ardez) an occupation layer was discovered by Armon Planta on 26 June 1969. Two days later Planta discovered also two ceramic fragments and several bones. Afterwards a rescue excavation over seven and half weeks was ordered. The entire campaign was directed by Armon Planta and Lüzi Stupan. The present ceramic fragment was found in sector "Feld 3" which is situated between the northern and the southern rock. According to the index card the sherd was found between the two rocks, under the wall, towards west. The fragment was inventoried with the find number AS 69/068.10 (in accord with Caduff) or as per the index card with 68b. In December 1973 the present potsherd was arranged into the museum inventory with the inventory number P 1973.2842. For a detailed review about the circumstances related to the excavation cp. in general Caduff 2007, esp. p. 9–11, 21–56. For the sector "Feld 3" cp. Caduff 2007: 27–30, fig. 10.
According to the excavation executed in Suotchastè the location was populated from the Middle Bronze Age, namely the Laugen-Melaun culture from the 13th to the 6th centuries BC, to the first half of the Late Iron Age, esp. presented by the numerous Fritzens-Sanzeno pottery. An exact stratigraphic determination related to the findspot Suotchastè is not possible due to mixture of the particular layers (cp. Caduff 2007: 9). But related to the numerous findings of pottery the findspot Suotchastè dates to the timeframe from the Middle Bronze Age to the first half of the Late Iron Age. Esp. related to the Fritzens-Sanzeno pottery the findings, e.g. bowls type Fritzens with radial eyes decoration (cp. e.g. Caduff 2007: pl. 13. 194, pl. 13.196) or compressed bowls with S-shaped profile and stamped striae-decoration (cp. e.g. Caduff 2007: pl. 14.206, pl. 14 208), suggest a dating to La Tène A as well as to La Tène B. Caduff prefers a dating to La Tène B (cp. Caduff 2007: 16).
In addition to the pottery only few metal objects like fragmentary fibulae or handles were found. But the findings made of bone or antler must be also mentioned: Some antlers and bones with characters (cp. Risch 1989: 1580, fig. 8, fig. 9, fig 10; Caduff 2007: 55–56, pl. 26, pl. 27) were also found where the interpretation of these characters are uncertain (cp. Risch 1989: 1580). Some of these objects can be interpreted as handles of implements or keys (cp. Caduff 2007: 55–56).
Concerning the various Fritzens-Sanzeno pottery found in Suotchastè as well as to the alphabetical characters which the present ceramic fragment bears, moreover with regard to the cultural area of the Lower Engadine and the context to the Fritzens-Sanzeno culture, it can be stated that the region of the Lower Engadine and therefore also Ardez as well as Suotchastè indicate the most western area and places of the central area of the Fritzens-Sanzeno culture (cp. Caduff 2007: 16 and again 19).
The findspot Suotchastè and the findings were published by Caduff 2002 and in consequence 2007. Risch publishes the objects with characters from Suotchastè but only with particular regard to the characters resp. inscriptions (cp. Risch 1984 and Risch 1989). Therefore the present fragment was first mentioned by Risch (cp. Risch 1984: 29–30, fig. 9). In the recently released study about the Raetic inscriptions by Marchesini the ceramic fragment is listed with "MLR 5", an autopsy was not effected (cp. MLR: 27 [MLR 5]).
Autopsied by the Thesaurus Inscriptionum Raeticarum in February 2014.



Caduff 2007 Bruno Caduff, "Ardez-Suotchastè. Eine urgeschichtliche Fundstelle im Unterengadin (GR)", Jahrbuch der Historischen Gesellschaft von Graubünden (= 137. Jahresbericht der Historischen Gesellschaft) (2007), 5–98.