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Analysis and Study of Archaeological Materials (2011)

INTRODUCTION

The archaeological material at issue comes entirely from two sets of surface collections:

  • the first one constituted integral part of the field survey and it was sampled (only diagnostic sherds, in terms of shapes and/or fabric, were collected);
  • the second one comes from very limited sampling carried out within the geophysical grid and, more specifically, in relationship to anomaly [m67].

All 2358 archaeological finds – except metals and glass – were washed and cleaned. Specific attention was paid to the analysis and study of pottery, especially in terms of macroscopic analysis of the fabrics and identification of shapes. All diagnostic potsherds (e.g. rims, bases, handles) were drawn and inked to be digitally acquired through scanning. We then searched for possible comparisons in published works in order to derive relevant chronologies.

RESULTS

The archaeological assemblage collected during the 2011 campaign has allowed us to confirm and further expand our own corpus of ceramic finds.

As for materials collected during the field-survey, they have allowed a closer dating of sites and offsites (see Par. 2). Black gloss pottery is widely attested, its distribution being un-interrupted from the second half of the IV c. BC until the mid I sec. AD. On the contrary the presence of terra sigillata italica proved rather limited (more than in 2010), something which is especially striking in light of the wide recorded presence of fragments of coeval (Italian) amphorae (Dressel 2-4). A Van der Werff 2 amphora, together with few fragments of African Red Slip vessels, attests to the presence of African products/imports from the mid Republic until the VII c. AD.

Significant is the presence of local/regional coarseware pottery. By comparing our own evidence with published materials, it is clear that Republican-only types are relatively scarce, unlike types with a stronger morphologic tradition (e.g. documented II c. BC to II c. AD). Markedly more diversified and widespread are the Imperial types. Thin-walled pottery has been attested for the first time in the rural landscape, surprisingly so given its fragile nature, not really suitable to the mechanic stress experienced by the ploughsoil assemblage.

Fragments of votive terracotta (dated IV-II c. BC) have been found on SITO 14 and were produced using the same clays as coarseware and locally-produced amphorae.

Archaeological finds collected over the anomaly [m67] include a series of building materials whose specific nature (e.g. tubuli, a very large tile) makes them compatible with what the geophysical survey itself has suggested (i.e. localised presence of important public buildings).

CONCLUSIONS

The analysis and study of the archaeological material has confirmed the fact that imperial fineware productions were not as widespread as their Republican counterparts. This pattern had been already identified last year in relationship with African Red Slip, but it can (perhaps) be argued for terra sigillata italica as well (more data is needed). This fact can be connected/explained with the widespread diffusion of local/regional coarseware which could have easily met the demands of the local population. Therefore the proper understanding local coarseware patterns is not only important, but rather essential, especially in relation to the much more limited supply of imported finewares.

In conclusion, the joint analysis of all material classes has allowed field-survey to postulate settlement continuity in rural areas, from the IV c. BC until Late Antiquity. Among other things it points to the presence of imported products from other areas from across the Empire.

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