Ceramic workshops in the Roman world

A research project proposal

TS workshop unit at Rheinzabern
TS workshop unit at Rheinzabern
(after Hissnauer, Werkstattbereich 3. Jh. [2014])
Dear Colleagues,

Bearing in mind the many detailed comments to the post “Clay preparation units” we are delighted to present to you our idea for a research project concerning the infrastructure of the Roman ceramic workshops. The aim of this project is to study in detail the various production facilities used for the manufacture of ceramic items throughout the Empire.

Our proposition is to divide the possible research topics into three groups in accordance with the specific type of information which is to be gathered and analysed.

Clay preparation units

Rheinzabern 1975-77. Pit with clay ready for use.
Rheinzabern 1975-77. Pit with clay ready for use.

Dear Colleagues,

I am working on a topic, related to the clay preparation in the Roman period. I am trying to collect evidence for the different facilities in use during this process and the proofs of their presence in the ceramic workshops. I found some basic information in Peacock’s work on Roman pottery (Peacock 1982), and data for excavated structures in for example Pergamon, Sagalassos, Rheinzabern (see Poblome et al. 2001, Reutti 1983) etc. Unfortunately, I was unable to find publications with more specific information for the general layout of these facilities in the ceramic workshops and the exact way they were used. My goal is to find the differences in the layout and operation of the structures, used for clay settling, levigation, sedimentation and any other process related to the preparation of the raw material, together with the distinctive traces they leave in the archaeological record. I would be gratefull if someone could help me with bibliographical references or personal experience in this matter.

Best regards,
A. Harizanov

Bibliography:

Peacock 1982: D. P. S. Peacock. Pottery in the Roman World: an ethnoarchaeological approach. – Longman, London, 1982.
Poblome et al. 2001: J. Poblome, O. Bounegtru, P. Degryse, W. Viaene, M. Waelkens, S. Erdemgil. The sigillata manufactories of Pergamon and Sagalassos. – JRA, 14, 2001, 143-166.
Reutti 1983: F. Reutti. Tonverarbeitende Industrie im römischen Rheinzabern. – In: Germania, 61, 1. Halbband, 1983, 33-69

Parallel of a kiln construction

Kilns near Montana, Bulgaria
Kilns near Montana, Bulgaria

Dear Colleаgues,

I am looking for a parallel of this kiln construction, excavated in the territory of Bulgaria. The structure was discovered in a Roman villa rustica, dated to the second half of the 2nd – third quarter of the 4th c. AD (Aleksandrov 1983, 72-75). The site was situated near the the modern day (and also the Roman) town of Montana (in the Roman provinces of Moesia Inferior/Dacia Mediterrranea).
The construction comprised four two-chambered structures (two with perforated and two with solid intermediate floors) connected by a long praefurnium (image – Aleksandrov 1983, p. 60). The fire was ignited into the lower chamber of the largest structure from where the hot air was transfered to the other three parts of this facility (Aleksandrov 1983, 60-61).

Tools used for the production and decoration of roman pottery

Dear colleagues,

I was wondering if someone knows and can recommend me bibliography on tools (made in various materials) that are used in the production and decoration of roman pottery which can be found in (and around) pottery workshops. I’m especially interested  in tools that were used in decorating vessels (such as tools for the making of incised decoration, and other).

Thank You in advance for Your replies!