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Title: Tecnologia e funzione nella produzione ceramica eneolitica del territorio di Roma: casi studio, problemi e potenzialità della ricerca.
Tutor: Manfredini, Alessandra
Conati Barbaro, Cecilia
Lemorini, Cristina
Cazzella, Alberto
Keywords: Prehistoric Pottery, Pottery Technology, Pottery Function, experimental archaeology, Use wear analysis, Pottery Analysis, Craft Specialisation
Issue Date: 5-Dec-2014
Abstract: This research focuses on the domestic pottery production related to the Chalcolithic settlements of Tor Pagnotta, Casetta Mistici, Osteria del Curato-Via Cinquefrondi, Torre della Chiesaccia and Valle dei Morti. All of the analysed contexts are located South of Rome and are chronologically dated between the half of the IV and the end of the III millennium B.C. The settlements analysed in this research play a major role in the understanding of the occupation of this area, such densely populated during the prehistoric period and geographically limited between the Tiber river, the Aniene river and the Colli Albani volcano. This study aims to reconstruct the technological and functional choices involved in the pottery production in order to define and highlight patterns of continuity or discontinuity, which are useful to investigate the occupation dynamics of the area. The localization of the settlements (very near one to each other) allows to develop the research both over a synchronic and a diachronic perspective, identifying differences and similarities between contemporary productions and in a diachronic perspective, underlying transformations happening over time within different cultural traditions. This research falls into a moment where studies focused on the function of prehistoric productions are mostly related to tools made of other types of materials (e.g flint, hard animal materials etc) than pottery, which has rarely been taken in consideration from this point of view. So far, the few use wear analyses performed on pottery, focused on the reconstruction of the vessels’ use, not taking into consideration its technology, intended as production techniques, not allowing the development of a universal terminology or a specific methodological approach. For these reasons this research proposes a methodological framework comprising an integrated approach of wear analysis and experimentation, which allowed to produce relevant data on this matter. The methodology here presented allows a detailed examination of a pottery production based upon the decomposition of the vessel. Starting with the compositional analysis of clay pastes (petrographic analysis on thin sections, XRF) it was possible to reconstruct the sourcing strategies, locate the clay sources exploited in the area and define clay recipes. Furthermore, a detailed analysis of the vessel construction and pottery firing techniques was performed. A major role in this research is played by the analysis of the samples under a microscope, applying a low power approach, and by a dedicated experimental framework that allowed to study and define the modeling techniques, surface treatments, decorations techniques, along with the exploited tools, in order to reconstruct the involved gestures, which are only hypothesised trough the study of traditional contexts. Trough this approach it is possible to take the whole aspects of a pottery production such as the choices that distinguish individual traditions and the manufacturing features allowing to define the figure of “the potter” or his role in a prehistoric community highlighting possible forms of craft specialization. Moreover, from the application of this methodology it emerged that it is not possible separate the study of technological choices from the use, as every vessel is produced to be used. For this reason technological features, as modeling and surface treatments and the choice of clay pastes are studied in relation to the functional requirements, with an integrate approach involving microscope observations, residue analysis and experimentation, focused on the definition of the actual use of a pottery vessel.
Research interests: Pottery,Pottery Analysis,Pottery technology, Pottery Function, Use wear analysis, Experimental archaeology, Craft Specialization, Cultural Processes
Personal skills keywords: Pottery analyst
Use wear analyst
Pottery modelling
Pottery experimentation

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