During our first few weeks of digging, we have discovered a variety of different ceramic shards that will provide valuable insight on our dig site. From pottery shards to roof tiles, we have started to see the foundation of some kind of Roman site. While it is hard to tell at this point in time what the purpose of this site is, there are a variety of items that have given our team clues as to what it could be. Based on our various tours around Italy’s museums, we have been able to observe finds from other archaeologists that have related to our site and have given us valuable information that can allow us to discern hypotheses on our site’s function. I believe that one of our more significant finds so far has definitely been that we have found two separate pieces of ceramic that have inscriptions on it. Considering our surrounding area isn’t as well documented archaeologically compared to other parts of Italy, it would be great to learn more about the inscriptions we have found.
While it may seem slightly small in comparison to later finds, I believe that these finds are some of the more memorable objects that we have found from our third day of digging. In Trench A when we found two different pieces of pottery with inscriptions on them. One appeared to be a cup base while the other find happened to be from a plate. Both the cup and the plate were from a type of fine ware known as “arretine ware.” This type of ceramic is best known for a very smooth and finished orange glaze and can have intricate decoration on them. Functions of these two objects probably would have been for dining ware purposes. The inscriptions from the cup and the plate have yet to be properly identified, but what would be interesting is if they are names of known Roman craftsmen at the time. When we were going on one of our museum field trips, we were able to analyze a display in Arezzo where a variety of different inscriptions from ceramic creators had their works displayed. This allowed us to try and compare our finds with these catalogued ones discovered by archaeologists. If we can understand where these inscriptions come from in the Roman world, we can also see how trade was connected during the time period that these objects were buried in time.
By discovering the location of where this fine ware was produced we can also understand the relations different parts of Rome had with one another for trading purposes. While this find isn’t large enough to give us many details about the site, the meaning of finding these two artifacts would enforce ideas and concepts in the Italic world. Such as the methods of production and trade for the Roman people during this time. Depending on the location that this pottery was made, we can see with physical proof how the trade relations were with the Roman people during this time period. Based off of other excavations, we already have physical evidence of other types of expanded trade relations, like the Etruscans, through ceramic shards of pottery that have been found even in places like Rome (Cornell, p.32). So seeing physical evidence with how trade has expanded within Rome to its other colonies has been very interesting in concept.
We can also see how the placement of these objects reveal the strength of Roman settlements as they are in other parts of the Italic world. We can see how the economy would need to grow for Roman people to want to buy name brand objects from different regions of Rome, or even create name brand objects. Since these objects were found more towards the beginning of our dig, that means we’re looking at later examples of Roman pottery in the first few centuries AD.
When taking into the history and context for the objects that we have found, it would be amazing to find more with inscriptions so we can understand its context with the Italic world because of what it means in terms of sophistication for the Romans at that time. Being able to see physical evidence also adds to the whole experience of this find because we are able to understand further what trade relations were like with various parts of Rome during this time period. I’d like to learn more about the people who have created this type of pottery to know how local they were from the site for a better understanding on how production was during their time because it is a significant concept to comprehend.
- Cornell, T. J. The Beginnings of Rome: Italy and Rome from the Bronze Age to the Punic Wars (c. 1000-264 BC). London: Routledge, 1995. Print.