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Title: Ceramic technology and cultural change in Sicily from the 6th to the 11th century AD
Author: Testolini, Veronica
Awarding Body: University of Sheffield
Current Institution: University of Sheffield
Date of Award: 2018
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This thesis addresses issues of the technology and provenance of pottery from medieval Sicily (6th-11th century A.D.). The reconstruction of pottery production and consumption is undertaken in order to illuminate the social and economic effects of the influx of population and the introduction of new technologies in Sicily, in the time of transition between Byzantine and Islamic rulers. The research applies a technological interpretative framework to the study of ceramic upon material culture evidence, based up similar successful analytical approaches elsewhere in the Mediterranean. The chaîne opératoire approach was employed to reconstruct changes and continuity in Sicilian ceramic craft, while consumption patterns were studied through the characterisation of the pottery sets in Sicilian Byzantine contexts and successive phases, to identify innovation perhaps linked to the arrival of new settlers. Petrographic analysis of entire assemblages was carried out to identify those products manufactured in Sicily as well as imported vessels. Macroscopic observation, thin section petrography, optical microscopy and SEM-EDS analysis were combined to reconstruct Sicilian production sequences. The thesis presents the characterisation of raw material choice and processing, forming methods, finishing techniques, and firing procedures of cooking pots, table wares, storage and transport containers, manufactured in Sicily from the 6th-7th to the 11th century. Taking an assemblage-based approach, rather than only considering glazed wares, strong evidence is presented for both continuity and some distinct changes in technology from the Byzantine period to Islamic period in Sicily. Comparisons of the results with other cognate studies from contemporary contexts within the Byzantine Empire and the Islamic Caliphate makes it possible to suggest the movement of new settlers to Sicily from North Africa (perhaps both Christians and Muslims); and also, revealed some changes but also continuity in the consumption habits in Sicily at the dawn of the early medieval Mediterranean.
Supervisor: Day, Peter ; Doonan, Roger ; Montana, Giuseppe Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available