Culture contact in Western Mediterranean Sea during the Roman age. Pottery as marker between traffics and local production: an introduction.

Proceedings of the session n. 162 - XXV International Meeting European Association of Archaeologists (Bern, 4-7 September 2019)

Edited by Marco Giuman, Ciro Parodo, Gianna De Luca (University of Cagliari, Department of Humanities, Languages and Cultural Heritage)


The study of ceramics has always represented a fundamental element for the reconstruction of many aspects of the Ancient World in a hermeneutical dimension that today does not ignore a markedly interdisciplinary approach. In fact, ceramics could be considered as a tool capable of conveying complex messages regarding the social status of users, but also an essential element in daily life, in the conservation and transport of food and goods, as well as in the performance of ritual functions. An accurate comparative analysis, facilitated in recent decades thanks to sophisticated archaeometric techniques, allows us to obtain ever more precise information on the macroeconomics of the Ancient World, on domestic economy, on trade and on the evolution of social structures. Given these general premises, it is precisely in this perspective that ceramics constitute a fundamental marker in the recognition and evaluation of the mechanisms of cultural interaction. Although much is known about the dynamics of production and distribution of classes and models, many aspects remain to be explored, like, for example, an effective analysis of the complex processes that relate large commercial circuits to retail distribution or, in this same context, how and at what level fashions and tastes affect the production and marketing systems of manufactured goods. This topic concerns a reality like that of the Roman world, characterized by strong differences of social and economic order.

From these questions arises the idea of organizing a scientific session in which these problems could be confronted in a comparative manner. This opportunity has materialized in the context of the 25 International Conference "Beyond paradigms", organized by the European Association of Archaeologist and held in Bern from 4 to 7 September 2019. The very topic of the forum prompted us to propose a theme that, in line with the basic idea, went effectively beyond our traditional study of ceramics and pushed us to deepen, for as far as possible and through diversified approaches, the analysis of the mechanisms that in the Ancient World distinguish a ceramic product from its conception to the final purchase.

The results of this comparison, which we believe effectively underline the goodness of the basic idea of the conference, find space in two issues of Otium. Archeologia e Cultura del mondo antico. We therefore thank all those who, accepting our invitation, took part in the conference and wished to contribute with their different research. These find common ground in the methodologies and in the questions so that to be able to "go beyond" the more traditional approaches in the study of ceramics from the Ancient World.


Pubblicato: 29.12.2021