pottery, amphora, roman ancient, city, dig, Sanisera, study abroad, Mediterranean

NORTH AFRICAN TABLE WARES IN SANISERA

Amongst many wares the inhabitants of Sanisera (Menorca, Balearic Islands) received from different parts of the Mediterranean through commerce, there was an intense commercial contact with Northern African from the 2nd century AD up to the 6th century AD.

Many African amphorae reached the port of Sanisera, which contained different products such as grain, olive oil and wine. Also, cooking wares were imported to this city between mid. 2nd century AD and the 5th century AD

Map of Roman Tunisia

Map of Roman Tunisia

A wide range of table wares with an orange-red slip reached Sanisera. These wares, known as North African Red Slip Wares or TS Clara, were produced in many workshops of modern-day Tunisia and exported to many parts of the Empire between mid. 2nd century AD and the late 6th century AD, with a widespread distribution around the western Mediterranean Sea. This pottery class included forms such as plates of different sizes, bowls, cups and flagons.

Fragment of base of ARS plate with stamped patterns from Sanisera

Fragment of base of ARS plate with stamped patterns from Sanisera

While the early productions had a granular fabric, the latter ones had a smoother texture and a good quality slip. Apart from having the orange-red slip, some of them were also decorated with appliqué ornaments (for the early wares) as well as rouletted and stamped motifs in the inside of their bases. Those patterns could include palm leaves, geometrical designs (concentric circles, grid squares) and Christian symbols, such as crosses, the Alpha and the Omega, the Chi Rho, doves and saints praying. Those Christian motifs were included to these wares once Christianity became the official religion of the Empire in the 4th century AD.

ARS ware bowl (Hayes 91) found in a trash pit in Sanisera

ARS ware bowl (Hayes 91) found in a trash pit in Sanisera

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