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Title: African amphorae from Portus
Author: Franco, Pina
Awarding Body: University of Southampton
Current Institution: University of Southampton
Date of Award: 2012
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The object of this thesis is the African amphora assemblage from Portus, the maritime port of Imperial Rome. By means of amphorae, this thesis looks at the important relationship between producers and consumers, between what was produced on the land in North Africa in terms of ceramics and agricultural produce, and what was traded at the port of Rome. Amphorae were large-sized vessels used for moving foodstuffs, and one of the main archaeological evidence for topics related to trade studies in the Classical world. This study in particular aims to identify production workshops in commercial partnership with Portus, located in Africa Proconsularis, corresponding to modern Tunisia and western Libya. Building upon an understanding of previous academic work related to principles of fabrics, petrological and typological analysis of amphorae, the products of a number of important production workshops were characterized in the assemblage, including those from Sullecthum, Lepcis Magna, Tripoli, and Nabeul. Sullecthum, Lecpis and Tripoli and their hinterland zones were important commercial partners in the 3rd century AD, while Nabeul, characterized by vessels in a red fabric, in the 4th and 5th centuries AD. This work also proposes a new approach for the study of amphorae: that is, to associate the amphorae with their social context of production, and the people who manufactured them, a dimension often forgotten. This is investigated through consideration of a proposed framework that takes into account forming techniques and their socioeconomic significance, and skill investment in production. This thesis brings a greater breadth regarding our understanding of the development of the port at Portus, its relationship to nearby important commercial locations, and its decline. Being initially in the shadow of the nearby fluvial harbour of Ostia, it is with the early 3rd century AD that the commercial character of the harbour is defined, while a decline is evident in the second half of the 5th century AD. In considering these topics, this study aims to contribute to the wider Portus Project undertaken by the University of Southampton in collaboration with the British School in Rome, the University of Cambridge and the Soprintendenza per i Beni Archeologici di Roma (Ostia Antica). This is the first time that this very important archaeological site is studied in detail and its ceramic materials analyzed.
Supervisor: Keay, Simon ; Peacock, David Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available
Keywords: CC Archaeology