Ceramics, as has been noted, are an important indicator for archaeologists; indeed, they allow scholars to determine dates, reconstruct trade relations between different regions, and gauge the level of technological development in ancient society.
Ceramics produced in South-Central Italy, in particular, played a prominent role in the ancient Mediterranean trade. Archaeological research, however, has not always treated the areas of manufacture (kilns and artisan quarters) with the attention they deserve and reports of ancient centers of production for ceramics are not always easy to trace.
The main goals of the Atlas of ceramic production sites in Italy were to collect, for the first time, edited data related to sites in which the ceramics were produced in the Hellenistic and Roman ages (in some cases, also in preceding epochs and during Late Antiquity) and to offer an overview of the ceramics produced at each site.
Research has been concentrated in some regions, which played an important role in the production and exportation of ceramics and foodstuffs during the period being considered here, those being Etruria, Latium, Campania, and Sicily.
The volume is based on a series of factsheets on pottery production sites, including the geographic location of the site, information on structures, drawings of the main pottery types, epigraphic data and bibliographic references.
The Atlas also includes tables with information on the shipwrecks which were carrying the ceramics produced in central-southern Italy throughout the Mediterranean markets over a time-span of five centuries, from the 4th Century B.C. to the 1st Century A.D.
The aim is to increase the data on pottery production sites with information on the trade routes of their ceramic products in the Western Mediterranean.
Dealing with such huge quantity of data enables new interpretations concerning pottery production and circulation of ceramics and victuals, as well as the level reached by handicrafts technology in different areas during the classical antiquity.
Direct access to a sample of an Atlas record (PDF)
For a case-study concerning the study of furnaces, see the page "Ischia and the Gulf of Naples".
Data and results are the subject of the volume "Roman Ceramic Production Sites and Shipwrecks of Tyrrhenian Italy: fabrics and mineralogical analyses”. See also the page "Papers" and the database.