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The National Roman Fabric Reference Collection: a Handbook

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Appendix 1: Keywords and Definitions
Appendix 2: Physical Layout of Sherds Housed in the NRFRC



This section describes a variety of amphora fabrics, both those which occur frequently and others which are less common but were used in the production of common form types. Much of the information presented here duplicates that published by Peacock & Williams (1986), but rather than using form as the starting point our samples are organised by source area. In cases where fabrics are unsourced, or those which have multiple sources, we have reverted to form as the starting point, based on Peacock & Williams’ classes.

Recent amphora studies are summarised by Peacock & Williams, and to avoid repetition the full reference is given here: Peacock, D P S, & Williams, D F, 1986 Amphorae and the Roman economy. An introductory guide. Recently this has been expanded by DF Williams and SJ Keay as Roman Amphorae: a digital resource. Another good general reference with numerous drawings and maps can be found in Scilliano, M, & Sibella, P, 1991 Amphores: comment les identifier?, Aix-en-Provence.

Many of the original form designations for amphora types are subsumed within a few references. The Dressel forms are summarised by Callender, M H, 1965 Roman amphorae, London, while the Camulodunum type series can be found in Hawkes, C F C, & Hull, M R, 1947 Camulodunum. First report on the excavations at Colchester 1930–1939, Rep Res Comm Soc Antiq London 14. For some amphora types fabric and form are both unique and interdependent. However, as studies progress and more is understood of their source areas and fabrics, this is less and less the case, for numerous types were imitated at different production centres.

Outstanding site reports, particularly relevant to the north-west provinces can also be noted. Most recently, Martin-Kilcher’s work on Augst ( Martin-Kilcher, S, 1987 & 1994 Die römischen Amphoren aus Augst und Kaiseraugst, Forschungen in Augst 7/1-3, Augst) should be consulted. Though considerably older, Panella’s Ostia corpora remain extremely useful (1970, Anfore, in Ostia 2: Le terme del Nuotatore: scavo dell’ambiente I, Studi Miscellanei 16, Rome, 102–56; 1973, Appunti su un gruppo di anfore della prima, media e tarda età Imperiale, in Ostia 3: Le terme del Nuotatore: scavo dell’ambiente V, VI, VII et di un saggio nell’area SO, Studi Miscellanei 21, 460–633, Rome; 1977 Anfore, in Ostia 4: Le terme del Nuotatore: scavo dell’ambiente XVI dell’area XXV, Studi Miscellanei 23, 119–262, Rome). Finally, Riley’s work on Benghazi includes extensive summaries of many amphora types, both eastern and western ( Riley, J A, 1979 The coarse pottery from Benghazi, in Sidi Khrebish Excavations, Benghazi (Berenice) 2 (ed J A Lloyd), 91–497, Tripoli).

Several recent amphora publications focus on the foodstuffs transported in them. Included in this category are Tchernia on wine (Tchernia, A, 1988 Le vin de l’Italie romaine: Essai d’histoire économique d’après les amphores, Rome), Curtis on fish products (Curtis, R I, 1991 Garum and salsamenta, Studies in Ancient Medicine 3, Leiden), and three conference volumes, two on oil (Blázquez, J M, & Remesal Rodríguez, J (eds) 1980 Producción y comercio del aceite en la antigüedad, Primer Congreso Internacional, Madrid; Blázquez, J M, & Remesal Rodríguez, J (eds), 1983 Producción y comercio del aceite en la antigüedad, Segundo Congreso Internacional, Madrid) and one concerning both oil and wine (Amouetti, M-C, Brun, J-P, & Etam, D (eds), 1993 La production du vin et de l’huile en Méditerranée, Bulletin de Correspondance Hellénique Supplément 26). A final conference publication which is useful for many amphora types is Amphores romaines et histoire économique: dix ans de recherche, Collection de l’Ecole Française de Rome 114, Rome.

It is somewhat more difficult to isolate museums displaying large amphora collections. Those however which are worth noting for western finds are the Musée d’Archéologie Sous-Marine et Subaquatique du Cap d’Agde, Musée du Vieil Istres and Musée Archéologique, Saint-Raphael in France; Augst in Switzerland and, for central Mediterranean and eastern finds, the Musée de Carthage in Tunisia; further east the Bodrum Museum of Underwater Archaeology in Turkey has a good display of eastern Mediterranean amphorae.