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From standard pots to potters' standards

An integrated approach to ceramic standardization and change in Archaic Satricum (6th–4th century BC)

Martina Revello Lami
21 June 2024
UvA-DARE (Digital Academic Repository)


The dissertation examines the transformative processes of Archaic Central Italy, focusing on the ancient city of Satricum, present-day Borgo Le Ferriere in Southern Lazio, Italy. Spanning nearly ten centuries from the Iron Age to the early Imperial period, Satricum offers a unique lens into Latial settlement development. Particularly, the study delves into the crucial Archaic period (6th – 4th BC), when several Latial towns underwent fundamental changes in terms of political organization, economic exchange, and urban planning. To shed light on the shifting fortunes of the Satrican community during this era, the rich ceramic record unearthed during decades of extensive archaeological fieldwork takes center stage.
Challenging conventional views, the thesis explores the intricate relationship between ceramic standardization and craft systems during the Archaic period. It argues for a nuanced understanding of the material culture produced, beyond a simplistic correlation between standardization and societal progress. The research methodology integrates typo-morphological inquiries with materials science analyses to assess variability within ceramic assemblages.
The analysis focuses on household ware pottery, storage containers, and building materials, providing insights into pottery production, distribution, and consumption systems in Satricum. By examining metric data and fabric characterization, the study elucidates the technological and morphological uniformity/diversity within ceramic artifacts. Petrographic studies further deepen understanding by exploring geological contexts and clay sources contributing to ceramic compositions.
Ultimately, the dissertation contributes to the broader discourse on pottery studies, offering a comprehensive evaluation of pottery manufacturing systems in Archaic Satricum. It not only reassesses the debated link between specialization and standardization but also proposes future research avenues for a more holistic approach to understanding ancient material culture.

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