Ceramics and the economy of Late Antique Campania
Item statusRestricted Access
Embargo end date29/03/2024
This thesis examines the ceramic productions circulating in Campania in Late Antiquity, providing a detailed synthesis of published data and a complete analysis of new unpublished pottery assemblages, answering a series of questions on the chronology of the various pottery classes circulating in Campania in Late Antiquity, identifying new ceramic classes and new production areas in the region, and shedding light on various territories unexplored by previous studies. A large part of this study focuses on creating a solid corpus of primary data giving a key role to the immense informative potential of pottery analysis. Rather than creating a new theoretical economic synthesis using the existing incomplete data for Campania, the present work chooses to focus on working with the primary data, producing five detailed specialist reports based on extensive new ceramic evidence from the case study areas of the region. This research aims to offer a more defined picture of the economy of Campania in Late Antiquity, filling the gaps in the current scholarship and providing new data for the current debate on regional archaeological studies. To fill these gaps, four late antique ceramic assemblages were analysed from the Vesuvian area, the Ager Nolanus and Hirpinia, dated between the second half of the 4th and the beginning of the 6th century AD. To these case studies is added a smaller study on the Burnished Ware from the Catacomb of S. Gennaro, included in Appendix 2, which provides essential archaeometric data on the Burnished Ware from Neapolis, which is missing to date. The first objective of the study is to create an extensive catalogue of the main ceramic classes and their forms and types circulating in Campania during Late Antiquity to offer a specialist regional synthesis of the topic. Besides this, another essential aim of this research is to clarify the chronology of the appearance and circulation of all the main ceramic classes, with particular attention to the Painted Ware and the Burnished Ware. The second objective is to identify the areas of production of the late antique ceramics from the pottery assemblages taken under consideration through an extensive study of fabrics, which were classified and sampled for the polarised light optical microscope and inductivity coupled plasma mass spectrometry. The results of these analyses provide crucial data for identifying the production areas, understanding the extent of some productions, and offering significant insight into the exchange system and ceramic trade in the late antique Campania. Based on these new data, the final section of this thesis considers the important roles of all scales of trade, micro-regional, regional and long-distance, offering important information from the micro-areas of the region (small economic units) to the macro factors, including the role of the state-controlled trade in the import of ceramic products and its economic impact. The various factors influencing the economy of a region, such as the location of the producer/consumer site, the market integration of imported ceramics and their imitation, the regional demand for these products, their trade and distribution, and the specific historical frame are also considered.