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La ceramica rinvenuta nella villa romana di San Potito di Ovindoli (AQ)

Coarse pottery from deposits in the Roman villa at San Potito di Ovindoli

Acta Archaeologica Academiae Scientiarum Hungaricae
Dénes Gabler

This paper presents the pottery originating from three groups of objects found in close association – in a well, a cistern and a burnt layer –, and the most characteristic vessel types as well as all the lamps found during the series of excavations at the site. The well excavated in the eastern part of the villa yielded pottery dating from the second half of the AD 1st and the beginning of the 2nd century. Only 0.5% of this ensemble was imported pottery, 6.4% was thin-walled and color-coated pottery, and 91.4% coarse pottery. In addition to these, the deposit contained a few ampullae and incense burners (turibulum). Only one piece of North-African red slip ware was found in the fill of the cistern located in the middle of the northern courtyard and the channel leading there. Here 10% of the pottery finds was composed of fine ware, and the amount of coarse pottery was significant. The fill of the well established in the later phase of the villa dated from the second half of the AD 3rd century. However, the pottery found in it is composed of types characteristic for the AD 1st and 2nd centuries – if its chronology can be reconstructed at all. Amphora fragments from Hispania and a piece of samian ware form Dr. 29 from La Graufesenque was unearthed in a burnt layer in the southern part of the early villa, as well as household ware dating from the period of the Flavian dynasty and the reign of Trajan. Here fine ware constituted 7.8% of the pottery finds. Vessels that were intact or could be refit were found atop the terrazzo floor in the central part of the villa, which might have been still in use when the villa was destroyed.

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The sigillata of Rheinzabern are overrepresented among ceramic types in Pannonia at almost every archeological site. Until today, from the excavated 266 sites, we know more than 15 thousand published Rheineabern sigillata. At certain cases, this strikingly high ratio is a result caused by the creation of the given camps or settlements after 180 AD. At settlements that were supposedly abandoned already at the beginning of the 3rd century, the number of such ceramics is lower. The legionary fortress that provided most of the known Rheine goods is Vindobona, while the highest number of material concerning canabae was published from Aquincum. Among the urban comunities, the quantity provided by the municipium of Brigetio holds the first place, while the utmost number of Rheine ceramics among the villas was published from Baláca. At native settlements the quantity of imported samian is relatively low, as their inhabitants lacked the financial opportunities and also the needs for imported goods. At the sanctuary areas, almost three quarters of the material of Pfaffenberg in Carnuntum consists of sigillata of Rheinzabern, while in the Isis sanctuary in Savaria, this ratio is only 7,2%. This type of sigillata is relatively rarely found in graves — we have 50 occurrences so far. Dishes intended for everyday usage of dwellers of towns and villas were also sigillata in many cases, while at settlements with native traditions they preferred bowls with reliefs. Sigillata of Rheinzabern emerged in Pannonia already in the Antonine age of, but at this time yet they were underrepresented in the presence of the sigillata of Lezoux. The greatest amount of Rheinzabern was transported into the province in the middle production section of the manufactory, i.e., between 180 and 230, in the age of the Severan conjuncture. Material dated to the middle third of the 3rd century in Pannonia is insignificant (2%), which can be attributed to the stagnation of trade relations, and to the inner and outer political situation of the Empire.

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Samian ware of Lágymányos. 65 pieces of Samian ware were unearthed during the excavation of the Eraviscus settlement of Lágymányos. It is a fairly small amount compared to the number of PGW finds, which is well over a thousand pieces. Despite all this, imported ceramic finds unearthed in these sites allow us to set up a timeframe of the lifespan of the settlement. A third of the finds originate from Italia, accordingly, it is presumable that in the middle to the second half of the first century this settlement was already a part of the Roman commercial circuit. Three potteries of Italian origin classifiable into three groups includes a relatively great amount of good quality A2 ware.

The 26 pieces include early-type Drag. 29 and early forms also appear amongst the undecorated vessels. There are fewer Central Gaulish finds and even less (3 pieces) of Rheinzabern products. According to the Samian wares found the life of the settlement can be traced up until the Marcomannic wars (166–180 AD).

Later finds suggest that the settlement was abandoned or sparsely populated afterward.

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In Pannonia from 122 sites 9867 Central Gaulish samian are recorded so far. The greatest number of this pottery has been published from the towns adjacent legionary fortress. Central Gaulish pottery is usually rare to find in cemeteries. The quantity of this ware everywhere greater than that of South Gaulish samian.

90.66% of the Central Gaulish terra sigillata are from Lezoux and 7.6% of this ware can be related to the workshops of Les Martres de Veyre. There may also have been a small number of Central Gaulish sigillata imported from Vichy, Terre Franche, Toulon sur Allier or Lubie. These samall production centres could be considered as possibilities.

The Lezoux group is represented in Pannonia by 15 plain and 2 decorated forms. The decorated ware can be chronologically divided into three large groups. The earliest ware of Trajanic period is quite rare in Pannonia; they occur only in the western part of the province.

The second chronological group, the Hadrianic–early Antonine one is in Pannonia a total of five times larger, than the Trajanic group. The total number of the third group, the Antonine samian is seven times larger, than the number of Hadrianic–early Antonine sigillata.

Hadrian founded 8 to 9 municipiums in Pannonia. The new cities, mainly the two provinial seats Carnuntum and Aquincum had a large shipment of ware from Central Gaul. After the Marcomannic wars (166–180 AD) Rheinzabern took over a leading role on the provincial markets.

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A collector handed over to the Hungarian National Museum 15 items of samian ware which he had discovered on the outskirts of Papkeszi. All of the vessels were plain ware: Drag.33 cups or Drag.18/31 platters. 12 pieces bear stamps, with exception one they were all made by the workshops of Lezoux in the Antonine period. Their accordance as a set is evidenced by the graffiti naming Verus on 8 pieces.

The cache of Papkeszi and its closest paralell in space and time the one of Gorsium indicate that they were both purposely hidden deposits. Cache from the same era are also known from Noricum and Pannonia. Deposits from Gorsium and Aquincum can be related to the Marcomannic–Sarmatian attacks of AD 178–179 which among others resulted in the destruction of the earth-timber fort of Celamantia.

Based on samian and brooches the Roman settlement of Papkeszi was inhabited from the Flavian Age. Although its inhabitants might have hidden a cache of terra sigillata as a significant treasure, the Marcomannic–Sarmatian wars (AD 166–180) did not cause any considerable interruption in the occupation of the settlement.

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