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Daniele Malfitana · Jeroen Poblome · John Lund

Comitato scientifico:
S. E. Alcock (Brown University, R.I.) · P. M. Allison (University of Leicester) · D. Bernal
(Universidad de Cadiz) · M. Bonifay (Centre Camille Jullian - UMR 6573, CNRS) · R. Brulet
(Université Catholique de Louvain) · L. Chrzanovski (International Lychnological Associa-
tion) · F. D’Andria (Università di Lecce) · M. de Vos (Università di Trento) · K. Dunbabin
(McMaster University, Ontario) · M. Feugère (Equipe TPC - UMR 5140, CNRS) · I. Free-
stone (Cardiff University) · M. Fulford (University of Reading) · C. Gasparri (Università di
Napoli “Federico II”) · E. Giannichedda · F. Giudice (Università di Catania) · A. Hochuli-
Gysel (Fondation Pro Aventico, Avenches) · S. Ladstätter (Österreichische Akademie der
Wissenschaften) · M. Lawall (University of Manitoba) · M. Mackensen (Ludwig-
Maximilians-Universität, München) · D. Manacorda (Università di Roma Tre) · D. Mat-
tingly (University of Leicester) · M. Mazza (Università di Roma “La Sapienza”) · D.
Michaelides (University of Cyprus) · M. D. Nenna (Maison de l’Orient et de la Méditerra-
née, Lyon) · M. O’Hea (University of Adelaide) · E. Papi (Università di Siena) · D. P. S. Pea-
cock (University of Southampton) · N. Rauh (Purdue University) · P. Reynolds (University
of Barcelona) · G. Sanders (The American School of Classical Studies at Athens) · F. Slavazzi
(Università di Milano) · K. W. Slane (University of Missouri-Columbia) · N. Terrenato
(University of Michigan) · M. Torelli (Università di Perugia) · H. von Hessberg (Universität
zu Köln) · A. Wilson (University of Oxford) · D. Yntema (Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam)

Consulente di redazione per la grafica e la fotografia:

Giovanni Fragalà

«Facta» is a Peer Review Journal


edited by
daniele malfitana, jeroen poblome,
john lund

2 · 2008

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issn 1971-9051

Editorial Preface 11

Kristine Bøggild Johannsen, Campanareliefs im Kontext. Ein Beitrag zur Neu-

bewertung der Funktion und Bedeutung der Campanareliefs in römischen Villen 15
Eloisa Dodero, Il vetrocammeo nella prima età imperiale: una sintesi. Con breve
notizia di alcuni frammenti inediti del «Thorvaldsens Museum» di Copenhagen 39
Paul Reynolds, Linear typologies and ceramic evolution 61
Jean Bussière, Nouveaux outils de potiers africains d’époque romaine (iv e-vi e s.) 89
Ben Russell, The dynamics of stone transport between the Roman Mediterranean
and its hinterland 107
Daniele Malfitana et al., Roman Sicily Project («rsp »): Ceramics and Trade.
A multidisciplinary approach to the study of material culture assemblages. First
overview: the transport amphorae evidence 127
Jeroen Poblome, Sherds and coins from a place under the sun. Further thoughts
from Sagalassos 193

discussion section: the «rhosica vasa» quest

John Lund, Daniele Malfitana, Jeroen Poblome, «Rhosica vasa»: the quest
continues 217
Christian Høgel, Cicero on Atticus serving from «Rhosica vasa» 221
Luciana Romeri, Ateneo e il vasellame di Cleopatra (Ateneo, Deipn. vi 229 c1-d1) 225
Kevin Greene, «Rhosica vasa» as metalwork rather than earthenware: an inter-
pretation reinforced by philological analysis 231

review section
John Lund, New corpus of terracotta lamps from Algeria. A review of Jean Bus-
sière, Lampes antiques d’Algérie, and Lampes antiques d’Algérie ii : Lampes tar-
dives et lampes chrétiennes 235

Books received 239

Instructions to authors 241

Addresses of contributors 243

a multidisciplinary approach
to the study of material culture assemblages.
first overview: the transport amphorae evidence
Daniele Malfitana
With contributions by
Emmanuel Botte · Carmela Franco · Maria Giulia Morgano
Anna Lisa Palazzo
Thematic map by Giovanni Fragalà

Quapropter cognita tota re frumentaria, iudices, iam facillime

perspicere potestis amissam esse populo Romano Siciliam,
fructuosissima atque opportunissima provincia,
sini eam vos istius damnatione reciperatis.
Quid est enim Sicilia, si agri cultionem sustuleris
et si aratorum numerum ac nomen exstinxeris?1


W e quote this passage from the second book of the «Verrinae» by Cicero because
it testifies to the beginning of that happy and calm period, after consul Marcel-

This work is the first overview of an encompassing research project in progress; its final results will be
published as a Facta Supplementum containing more detailed information and all the analytical data (includ-
ing gis and other databases, thematic maps and graphs) on local production and import of amphorae and
table wares in Roman Sicily. The contribution presents research results of the «Commessa di Ricerca»
ibam - cnr (pc.p02.001 - ibam) directed by D. Malfitana and titled «Approcci multidisciplinari integrati per
l’analisi dei manufatti: dalla produzione alla circolazione e all’uso» and was partially funded, in its first stage, by
the Department of Cultural Heritage of the Regione Sicilia (Dipartimento Beni Culturali dell’Assessorato
ai Beni Culturali ed Ambientali della Regione Sicilia). E. Botte is a PhD student at the University of Lyon
and Centre Jean Berard (Naples). C. Franco, M. G. Morgano and A. L. Palazzo are archaeologists of the School
of Advanced Study in Classical Archaeology of the University of Catania. G. Fragalà is responsible for the
Laboratory of Archaeological Photography of ibam - cnr, Catania. A special thanks goes to Carmela Fran-
co, who helped to coordinate and collate the data from the different sections of this work; she also trans-
lated the original Italian and French texts into English. Are involved in the project: G. Cacciaguerra, M. G.
Morgano, A. L. Palazzo (University of Catania), N. Alberti, A. Di Miceli, M. Spagnolo, V. Purpura, N. Trec-
carichi (University of Palermo), and E. Botte (Centre Jean Berard of Naples). Also historians, archaeometrists,
computer scientists, etc. are taking part in the project. The engineer A. Guglielmino is organising the web-
site of the project (, as well as creating the gis maps and the database that will
be made available on the intranet section of the website. The authors wish to thank Michel Bonifay for crit-
ically reading the text and his many suggestions; Elizabeth Murphy for her great effort in improving this
contribution, and not least its English. Obviously, the authors remain responsible for any mistake.
1 Cic., In Verr. ii. 3, 226 («Judge, now that you have known the entire issue of the wheat, you can easily under-
stand that Sicily is the most productive and useful of our provinces and the Roman population will lose it if you don’t
128 daniele malfitana et alii
lus had received the island in 210 bc, being 27 years after the province had been con-
stituted and after he had given it to his colleague Levinus, following the objections of
the Syracusans.1 The calm period helped the Sicilian exiles and refugees return to
their homes and properties and rejuvinate agricultural production, especially of
wheat destined for Rome – the capital city. The two superlatives used by Cicero ex-
plain very clearly and eloquently the status of Sicily, which, compared to other Ro-
man provinces and domains, seems to offer competitive and varied economic oppor-
tunities, at least during this period.2

Building on the contemporary political, social and economic situation of Sicily –

which was particularly dynamic –,3 a multidisciplinary research project4 is in progress.
Junior researchers specializing in the study of Roman artefacts are approaching the
cultural, social and economic matrix of the first province of the Empire. Starting with
the testimonies of the material culture, they are studying not only the handcrafts, but
primarily the processes of social and ideological dynamics combined in the general
concept of «culture» and the historical, socio-cultural context in which these dynam-
ics were embedded.5
Despite the lack of relevant research and published material – and especially the
«deliberate» lack of focus on Hellenistic and Roman aspects of Sicily6 – the past years
have seen some attempts to draw a preliminary picture of the socio-economy and cul-
ture of Roman Sicily.
This first attempt, however, was focused mostly on historical evidence and not so
much on the archaeological record. The essay by Mario Mazza7 is still the most com-
plete report on Roman Sicily. Today we can combine, better than in the past, archae-
ological materials with historical reconstructions, which can contribute to clarifying
the numerous data that our team is collecting.

reconquer it by condemning this man. What will be Sicily after the destruction of the agriculture and the category of
the farmers, till the disappearing of their name?»).
1 Liv. xxvi, 29, 1-9; xxvi, 32, 8; Val. Max iv, 1, 7; Plut. Marc. 23.
2 There is a long bibliography on the political status of Sicily as quoted by Cicero. Lazzaretti 2006 and
Perkins 2007. Most recently, Prag 2007 discussed historical, political, social and legal aspects of Sicily dur-
ing Cicero’s period. A very interesting overview is Dubouloz - Pittia 2007 (various papers). A milestone
for Sicily in the Roman Empire is Wilson 1990.
3 Lazzeretti 2006 made a recent and exhaustive re-examination of the fourth book of the «Verrinae»
(De signis) with an archaeological and historical commentary.
4 The activities of this project are part of the research carried out by the Katholieke Universiteit Leuven
(roct project led by Professors M. Waelkens and J. Poblome). The main author of the article is responsi-
ble for the research unit titled «Regionalism and Internationality in Roman Sicily: a general overview of fine and
common wares, amphorae and material culture assemblages» (2007-2013). The beginning of the project coincid-
ed with the activities of the International Summer School 2007: Roman pottery. Methodologies for the study of pro-
duction, circulation and use (Catania, October 2007).
5 On the concept of «material culture», its implications and its application see the editorial statement of
«Facta», 1, 2007 (Poblome - Malfitana - Lund 2008). See also Roth 2007.
6 See also the recent words of M. Torelli in L. Fiorini - M. Torelli, La fusione, Afrodite, l’emporion,
«Facta. A Journal of Roman material culture studies», 1, 2007, pp. 75-106; in particular p. 97 «… far conoscere
gli umili materiali ceramici romani in terre ideologicamente refrattarie alla romanità, come la grecità di Madrepatria
e delle colonie d’Occidente». 7 Mazza 1980-1981.
roman sicily project: ceramics and trade 129

In April 2004, the scientific meeting «Old pottery in a new century. Innovating perspectives
on Roman pottery studies»1 took place in Sicily. It was organized to concentrate the at-
tention of scholars – in particular of the Archaeological Superintendence, which
works directly on the archaeological sites of the island2 – on the enormous potential
of the study of crafts to draw an up-to-date picture of the economy and culture of
Roman Sicily. This meeting showed the way to new areas of research.
Strong appeals were launched to encourage the development and the investment
in this research field.3 The most recent one was by C. Portale (in his essay concern-
ing the province of Sicily):4 «gravosi limiti valgono per lo studio della cultura materiale,
malgrado il recente interesse volto al tema delle manifatture ceramiche, sulla scia dei progres-
si altrove registrati in questo campo. Anche qui i ritardi nell’edizione scientifica dei principali
complessi, come il Ceramico di Siracusa condizionano la validità dei risultati, assolutamente
preliminari, raggiungibili in questa fase». On the one hand, there was the Catania work-
shop capturing the need for investments in this field. On the other hand, there is the
research carried out by the Research Unit within the international roct project – Ro-
man Crafts and Trade – coordinated by the Katholieke Universiteit Leuven.5 Both sci-
entific platforms convinced us to gather young researchers able to gain specific com-
petences in order to realize the research project. In this contribution, we will present
the preliminarily results of this project concerning the transport amphorae.
This work – even if it is still in progress – aims to give a first set of data to the
scientific community directly obtained through the ceramic evidence, and in partic-
ular amphorae, found in Sicily, trying to recognise both the specificity and the role of
the island. In fact, Sicily can be considered as one big harbour opening like a fan,
connecting anywhere in the Roman Empire.6 Surely, this is the particularity of the
island and it is also the reason why it is a special observation place within the network
of international emporia that were distributed along the coasts of the Mediterranean
basin. As a matter of fact, Cicero described the island as such. In the chapter of the
«Verrinae», in which he discussed the deceptions of Verres in Syracusae, he refers to
the island as follows: «Cogitate nunc, cum illa Sicilia sit, hoc est insula quae undique exitus
maritimos habeat, quid ex ceteris locis exportatum putetis, quid Agrigento, quid Lilybaeo, quid
Panhormo, quid Thermos, quid Halaesa, quid Catina, quid ex ceteris oppidis, quid vero
Messana …».7

1 Malfitana - Poblome - Lund 2006.

2 See the considerations of the main author on some important Sicilian archaeological contexts which,
even after many years, remain unpublished: Malfitana 2006 a, p. 414 and Malfitana 2006 b.
3 See also the author’s considerations in Malfitana 2006 a, pp. 399-421.
4 Portale 2005, p. 110.
5 «Regionalism and Internationality in Roman Sicily: a general overview of fine and common wares, amphorae
and material culture assemblages» Unit (2007-2013). See also note 4 on p. 126.
6 See also the recent paper presented at the international workshop organized by the British School
in Rome and by the University of Southampton, Ports Networks in the Roman Mediterranean (March, 7th and
8th 2008).
7 «Sicily is an Island, having everywhere access to the sea. Think about what you suppose was exported from other
places, from Agrigento, from Marsala, from Palermo, from Terme, from Alesa, from Catania and from the other cities».
130 daniele malfitana et alii

The project
In September 2002, during the workshop at the Danish Institute at Athens,1 I intro-
duced the basis to redefine the presence of amphorae and table wares in late Hel-
lenistic and Roman Sicily. On that occasion, I underlined the difficulties in the real-
ization of this work because studies were slow and published evidence was scarce and
heterogeneous. Nowadays, the reconstruction of the ancient picture is somewhat eas-
ier, thanks to the more precise and numerous information available: at that time,
however, based on a preliminary analysis of the available archaeological and histori-
cal data, I could only propose a first outline of the presence and working of the com-
mercial network on Sicily. The first data were partial, yet primarily quantitative, thus
considered reliable and useful to develop alternative proposals, from a historical, eco-
nomic and social point of view.
When talking about the relationship between East and West we quoted some ex-
cerpta from the «Vita Hilarionis» by Saint Jerome, a Palestinian saint from Gaza who
wrote around ad 380. The presence in that text of nautae and negotiatores raised many
questions. When archaeologists understood the importance of the historical data,
and not only of the material, the hagiographic testimony became an important start-
ing point to scan the economy and the commercial exchanges of antiquity.
In any case, the use of written material – even extremely important sources, such
as the «Verrinae» – is not always a valid means by which archaeologists and historians
can find out precisely what they are looking for.2 This information has to be combined
with other documentation, concerning, for example, the complex road infrastructure
network3 – on an island where portoria4 and markets were surely vital –, the different
types (and quantities) of goods were exchanged,5 the origin and role of the com-
mercial operators – whose presence is epigraphically attested – as well as the eco-
nomic and cultural role of each city, both coastal and inland.
As previously stated, the extraordinary testimony offered by the «Verrinae» was ex-
tremely useful in finding information about the status of Sicily and its cities, but it did
not provide us with precise information about other aspects, such as economy, pro-
duction, and, in particular, handcrafts, which were presumably important for the Si-
cilian economy and society. Likewise, the available epigraphic documentation can not
give us information about other economic sectors, such as textile, wood or other ma-
terials’ manufacturing. The research began some years ago, starting with these con-
siderations and recalling the long and lively debate about the economy of Roman Sici-
ly; maybe this debate was focused too much on the organization, and agricultural
products, relationship between rural settlements and cities, and on the provision and

1 Malfitana 2004 a, pp. 239-250.

2 Marino 2006, p. 8: «In questo quadro storiografico il potenziamento del dialogo con i colleghi archeologi può ren-
dere la Sicilia ancora territorio di molte domande che devono ricevere risposte dalla sistemazione organica dei risultati
degli scavi e in una visione di sintesi sui contesti che concorrerebbe a superare i limiti della sclerotizzazione testuale».
3 On the fact that the Sicilian road network should be analysed in connection with the archaeological
documentation, see Uggeri 2004 (with bibliography).
4 About the portoria, see De Salvo 1992.
5 Nowadays, there is no reference study about the presence of Roman pottery in Sicily; this study is doc-
umented only for specific classes. For example, for the Italian stamped terra sigillata, see Malfitana 2004 b.
roman sicily project: ceramics and trade 131
the monumentalization of some urban areas. Our research started with an analysis –
in the strict sense – of archaeological documentation, more precisely, the local and
imported table wares or transport amphorae; it aimed at defining and creating a clear
and affordable overview – composed of concrete data – to be used in every kind of
research on Roman Sicily, not only specifically related to the material analysed, but
also to discover contact areas, movements, peoples and ideas that circulated in the
Sicily province.
We are sure that by studying material culture we can obtain a large quantity of in-
formation that, properly used, could help us not only to verify the presence or ab-
sence of some types of Roman pottery (which is our primary aim), but also to start
an investigation concerning the settlements, the role of producers and owners, and
the social position of the artisans. In recent years, these areas of research in Sicily are
becoming better understood, for istance thanks to the publications of Alcamo
Marina, introduced by E. Botte, or the important case of Santa Venera al Pozzo1 in
the hinterland of Catina, which is not completely published. If to that data we add –
even gradually – some other studies about important archaeological places in Sicily,
which are presently unpublished, we will finally have important means by which to
reconstruct more precisely the political and economic history (by putting together for
the first time all the available data as an organic whole).

The chronological period we analysed covered the period from the creation of the
province to the beginning of the late Antiquity (i.e. since the Romanization process2
of the island till the Vandal and Byzantine incursions).3
The main research aim is to collect all the available published material4 concerning
table wares and commercial amphorae. The unpublished data obtained by the Sicily
Archaeological Superintendence or universities and research institutes studying ar-
chaeology on the island are for the moment omitted.
The first and main difficulty is to systematise the information available, by putting
all the quantitative data in a computerized data management system that should nec-
essarily take into account the potential differences between the published material.
Information about the same find usually diverges, because some were published be-
fore the establishment of typologies (e.g., some texts were published before the J. W.
Hayes volume Late Roman Pottery, 1972, or before the Atlanti delle forme ceramiche del-
l’Enciclopedia dell’arte antica, classica ed orientale, 1981 and 1985). Some work is being
done to solve this problem and to create a common ‘language’ by translating the dif-
ferent classification systems into an easier terminology that is comprehensible by the

1 Branciforti 2006.
2 About the concept of Romanization, its significance and its application, see the recent considerations
of Malfitana 2006 b. In Perkins 2007, pp. 34-35 there are more precise observations. These investigations
aim to define whether the Roman conquest was a hegemonic process rather than an osmotic process.
3 Concerning the Late Roman, Vandal and Byzantine phase, the author of the article himself and M.
Bonifay are carrying out a recent research project funded for the years, 2008-2009, within the Scientific Co-
operation and Research Agreement between the Italian cnr and the French cnrs, titled: «Archaeological and
archaeometrical problems in the African ceramic imports in Roman, Vandal and Byzantine Sicily. Status quaestion-
is, methods and investigation approaches». See, Malfitana - Bonifay - Capelli (in press).
4 The operation consists of the reading of journals, excavation news, reports, museum catalogues, ex-
hibitions and other material connected to Sicilian archaeological contexts.
132 daniele malfitana et alii
whole scientific community and that also reflects the latest developments in the field.
Here we present the first table (Table 1: pp. 174-180) that redefines the main classifi-
cations of amphora types according to the most updated typologies. This must be
done to prevent some new ‘temporary’ terms, which are often coined during excava-
tions and then maintained and which create additional confusion.
The project is based first on the observation of the areas (i.e. the different com-
mercialization areas and, if known, the production areas on the island) and second on
the known ceramic typologies. In other words, we want to first underline the micro
and macro levels of commercialization, then the different weight of every ceramic
type and consequently the weight of the production regions outside Sicily, while con-
sidering presences and absences within the more general and homogeneous context
of the Mediterranean basin.
By reading, evaluating and interpreting the data, we must use great caution,
because data is always heterogeneous, due to differential rates of publication of the
results or, even more often, due to the fact that for too many years publications re-
mained simply preliminary. For these reasons we will obtain a heterogeneous ‘com-
mercial’ overview that will still be beneficial to our project. Nevertheless, we will have
to fill the gaps with additional information, drawn by other documented areas. It is
not possible to postpone the collection of information about the existence of
production complexes, and in particular of kilns, which are extremely important for
reconstructing economic and production patterns.

Questions and research aims

During the various meetings I have taken part in the past few years (where we also
discussed this project in advance or some specific topics), some recurrent questions
were posed to me. Here I am going to repeat them because they directly relate to our
main research aims. These questions are: how many pottery classes are there on the
island? Which are currently identifiable imports? Which are the most important
stratigraphic contexts? Which pottery comes from the East, and which comes from
the West? Which are the local products, and why are they called «local»? What is the
ratio between local and imported products? Which are the most strategically impor-
tant towns in the Sicily province? Where are the production centres on the island?
Which kind of archaeometric information about Sicily can provide clear guidelines
to recognize local products and imitations? How was the data collected? Does it come
from excavations or from surveys? What are the patterns of consumption (civil, reli-
gious and military) that can be reconstructed? In which contexts were amphorae and
table wares used?
This is an admittedly long list of questions, which are difficult to answer defini-
tively, due to the current lack of tools and means. Regardless, these questions are the
guidelines of the entire project, and only by answering them can we have a first large-
scale view that is perhaps still vague, but at least utilizes some complex, yet relevant,
Here we chose to introduce the first general observations collected and to post-
pone the detailed publication (currently in progress) of the existing testimonies and
of the quantities found. Here we also decided to present one particular case study of
roman sicily project: ceramics and trade 133
interest – that of the amphora type Dressel 21-22 of the Alcamo Marina complex,
which is very important for the study of Roman Sicily production.
Daniele Malfitana
The data collection
In order to collect useful data for a historical-commercial reconstruction, it is neces-
sary to treat information objectively from the beginning, thereby leaving the previ-
ous historical and archaeological information aside.
For the investigative approach adopted, which underlies the observation and col-
lection method, negative data is a key element, whereby, the absence of an amphora
type at a site has the same importance as its presence.
The presence or absence of a particular amphora type in an area makes it possible
to discover two important features of the general Roman economy:
1) Productive specialisation: some sites based their economy on the production and exporta-
tion of one or two types of goods.
2) Merchants used to prefer some commercial networks and routes, and they were part of a
big chain, which used to also connect very distant cities through an exchange system that
was based on a common Roman hegemonic policy.
According to this view, it is imperative that the temporal area of interest be analysed.
In fact, it will be useful to analyse the finds diachronically and synchronically. For this
purpose some distribution maps will be created using both temporal and typological
perspectives. With these maps we can immediately make a comparison among the
data we have, which will form the basis of a precise and objective analysis of the dif-
ferent contexts we were interested in. Only after this data observation – without pre-
conceptions and with a readiness to accept all the information that the finds might
give us – will it be possible to get specific understanding about the area, integrating
the data already known.

The tools used to observe the data will be:

- Diachronic gis-based maps about the finds according to a chronological distinction of the
material found;
- Distribution maps of chronological phases, for comparison of the presence and the types of
material in an area over different periods;
- Distribution maps of some amphora and table ware types for identification of privilege dif-
fusion areas.
The final aim of data observation will make it possible to understand:
- Distribution in larger and smaller geographic areas (starting with an observation of distri-
bution patterns in Sicily and then the observation of patterns throughout the Mediterranean
- Presence of a specific pottery type at a site (discovered thanks to the data concerning the
relationship between two sites) as the basis for understanding the commercial interests of
the site;
- Types of goods and products exchanged in order to eventually find constant and planned
exchange of raw material.
In this paper, we decide to present a preliminary distribution map of Sicily that shows
all sites at which amphorae were founded. Map i (made by Giovanni Fragalà) and
134 daniele malfitana et alii
built upon the Barrington Atlas map of ancient Sicily presents all known sites from
which data was included in the pottery database.

Consequently, we will discuss to the first data collected and its systematization; then
we will analyse its economical implications.
Maria Giulia Morgano

The transport amphorae evidence

Eastern Sicily: a first overview
As it is not possible to focus on every single piece of data gathered from the surveys
in eastern Sicily, we will set out to investigate and unravel aspects of greater impor-
tance in order to classify the economic dynamics in the eastern part of province Sicily
during the Imperial period. This will be performed through the analysis of the
existing amphorae found in several urban and rural settlements.1
The territory of Messana and the Aeolian Islands had the most significant and di-
versified role in this. In fact, recent archaeological studies in this area have traced
more and more features of municipia characterized by a wide commercial movement
and presence of different cultures. In this area the West and the East of the Empire
met, justifying the important description of the Island as a «concentrato di mediterra-
This area is better represented in the dataset in comparison to other Sicilian dis-
tricts owing to constant surveying and rapid follow-up publications.
The published data underscores the presence of some amphorae production com-
plexes. The most famous examples are the kilns that produced Richborough 527 am-
phorae (Fig. 1), near the municipium of Lipara during the early Imperial period (Map
i, F2).3 The archaeometrical analyses have recognized the local origin of the vessels.
It is possible that the amphorae transported alum rock,4 an important mineral for the
economy of the Empire because of its numerous multi-functional uses across the
economic spectrum (e.g. for tannery and medical use).
Our extensive knowledge on the municipium of Lipara, where the presence of east-
ern amphorae (Cretan 1)5 is attested, is very insightful. In fact, sometimes these am-
phorae were re-used in funeral contexts, suggesting an image of familiarity with the
goods from the eastern Mediterranean. In Lipara, we also found Gaulish amphorae
(Gauloises 4), Iberian amphorae (Dressel 7/11) and African amphorae (African i-ii).6

1 The relationship of a city/hinterland, especially in the provinciae, plays a role of particular importance
as far as the phenomenon of production/consumption of goods is concerned, because every settlement is
closely linked to its hinterland, Arthur 2000, p. 68.
2 Pinzone 2002, pp. 111-125 and De Salvo 2002, p. 365.
3 With regard to the kilns of the Early Imperial period found in Contrada Portinenti, see the study of
Ph. Bogard in Meligunìs x, pp. 255-344.
4 On the alum rock from Lipari, Plin., Nat. Hist., xxxv 184. On the topic of alum, see Borgard - Ca-
pelli 2005.
5 Village in Biviano’s property: Ancona 2000, pp. 99-112, Messina 2000, pp. 113-124; Roman Bath Complex,
Via Franza: Meligunìs x, pp. 226, 230; Funeral area, ex Terreno vescovile: Meligunìs xi, pp. 37, 41, 77, 199, 204, 288.
6 Meligunìs ix, 2; pp. 355-377. For the Roman kiln and the dump attested in c.da Portinenti, see Meligunìs
x, p. 371.
roman sicily project: ceramics and trade 135

Fig. 1. Amphora Richborough 527 type from Lipari (after Meligunìs x, p. 289, fig. 1).

The numerous underwater recoveries connected to wrecks (e. g. the Alberti wreck of
Panarea, wrecks a-c-m of Capo Graziano in Filicudi: Map i, F1)1 offer a vivid image
of a period of intense commercial activity related foremost to the African products
exported through the smaller Aeolian islands.
A prevalence of amphorae of presumed Sicilian origin is attested in Lipara during
the late Roman period with the presence of Keay lii and, above all, the amphorae
type so-called Termini 151-354.2
Recently, new investigations have also revealed the presence of some amphorae
kilns along the coast around the Aeolian Islands. Kilns have been discovered at Capo
d’Orlando, in the public Roman bath of the statio Agathyrnum3 situated along the an-
cient Via Valeria (Map i, F2). These kilns produced the so-called Termini amphora
type 354-151.4 This type is oval in shape, and it seems to imitate Eastern amphorae pro-
totypes5 and a type of wine amphora discovered in Naples and Rome (amphora cb2
type)6 (Fig. 2). The production of this type of amphora is also attested in Caronia. At
this coastal landing place, Calactae (Map i, E2), a statio along the Via Valeria in exis-

1 Alberti wreck: Cavalier - Livadie 1985, pp. 71-77; Parker 1992, p. 302, no. 784; Capo Graziano c wreck:
Parker 1992, p. 118, no. 235. Capo Graziano m wreck: Parker 1992, p. 120, no. 242; about Filicudi see also
Spigo 1996.
2 Messina 2000, pp. 113-124; Ancona 2000, pp. 99-112. 3 Spigo - Ollà - Capelli 2006.
4 Two variants of this type of amphora have been recognised by the archaeologists: local amphora char-
acterised by an «orlo ingrossato con sezione più o meno triangolare», similar to amphora type Termini 354-151
(iv-v th century ad) and a second variant with a «collo troncoconico, orlo svasato ed estremità arrotondata», see
N. Ollà in Spigo - Ollà - Capelli 2006, p. 455.
5 Local amphora with «orlo indistinto unito al collo troncoconico», considered as an imitation of a local glob-
ular amphora produced in the Eastern Mediterranean (lr2 /Berenice 2), see Spigo - Ollà - Capelli 2006,
pp. 444-455.
6 Local amphora with «orlo estroflesso con estremità rettilinea o lievemente scanalata», N. Ollà in Spigo - Ol-
là - Capelli 2006, p. 455, can be compared to amphorae found in Naples (Carminiello type 17, see Arthur
1998, p. 172, fig. 9) and Rome (cb2, see Saguì 1998, p. 321, fig. 10).
136 daniele malfitana et alii

Fig. 2. A selection of amphorae from Capo d’Orlando

(after Spigo - Ollà - Capelli 2006, p. 456, fig. 4).
roman sicily project: ceramics and trade 137
tence from the Middle Imperial period, has been identified1 During the Early Imperi-
al period the kilns produced amphorae Dressel 35 similis,2 while in the late Imperial
times they produced amphorae cb2 type, characterized by a short, hollow base or
stubby foot.3
Another workshop has been recognized in the territory of Furnari (Map i, G2),
along the route of Via Valeria to Messana Diana.4 There, within a range of 80 km, three
amphorae ateliers are attested. Each produced vessels that were very similar in shape
and succesfully exported. It may be possible, if not highly probable, that the ampho-
ra content may be connected with a story reported by Plinius Secundus in which he
mentioned the production of wine in this area at Haluntium.5 The Municipium of
Haluntium (Map i, F2) could be identified a few kilometres away from the modern
centre of Caronia.6 It may be that Caronia represented the commercial centre and
was an outlet in the wine trade. Plinius’s sources date this production to the Early Im-
perial period; the archaeological evidence of the kilns would confirm this production
also for the following periods.
In the coastal municipium of Mylae7 (Map i, G2), new surveys have attested the pres-
ence of an important industrial complex for the production of foods made from fish.8
The surveys have revealed an important group of transport amphorae and vessels
which are currently being studied. Perhaps the data will turn at to correlate with da-
ta connected to the probable presence of «vasche per pescicoltura»,9 found next to Riv-
iera di Ponente (Capo S. Antonio). The presence of these vessels may signal that this
production had a particularly important role in the municipal economy.
In the municipium of Messana10 (Map i, H2) three important productive complexes
were in use during the Late Roman period. Each of these complexes has its special-
ization. For instance, the village of Gazzi11 (Map i, H2) produced oil and wine, and it
is probable that the wine was exported as far as Carthage.12
The village of Ganzirri was situated near the Traiectus (Map i, H2), as part of the
wider suburban agglomerate of Pistunina13 (Map i, H2) within the boundaries of
Messana. Given its location, it was perhaps connected to rural activities.14 It is the lo-
cation of the Valerii villa, which was inhabited by owners, Anicius Pinianus and Mela-
nia Iunior, during the Vandal invasion of Rome, as well as the established site of the
big pars rustica. The excavation of those three sites produced Keay lii amphorae from

1 Uggeri 2004, p. 134. 2 Scibona 1969, p. 228; Wilson 1990, pp. 263 and 402, no. 127.
3 Bonanno - Sudano 2007, p. 442.
4 Bonanno - Sudano 2007, p. 442. In the locality of Tonnarella in 1994, archaeologists have found a kiln
dump in a context dating back to the iii-iv th century ad, with many amphora fragments similar to the ones
found in Caronia, see Bonanno - Sudano 2007, p. 442. About amphorae in Calacte see also Lentini - Gö-
ransson - Lindhagen 2002. 5 Plin., Nat. Hist., xiv, 80.
6 The community of Haluntium, cited by Plinius, was among the municipia created with the Augustan
reform. (Plin., Nat. Hist., iii 90) It is commonly identified with the modern centre of S. Marco d’ Alunzio,
Wilson 1990, p. 149. 7 Mylae: Oppidum (Plin., Nat. Hist., 3, 90).
8 Tigano 2003, pp. 281-295. 9 Tigano 1997, pp. 19-20, no. 16.
10 Messana: Oppidum Civium Romanorum (Plin., Nat. Hist., 3, 88).
11 About Gazzi see Bonanno 2001, pp. 195-205.
12 This production has been connected to a wine called Mamertinum produced in Messina and men-
tioned by Plinius: Plin., Nat. Hist., xiv, 66, 97; above the wine see also Portale 2006, p. 49.
13 Bacci 2001, p. 217. 14 Tigano 1997-1998, pp. 487-506.
138 daniele malfitana et alii
Naxos, lra and also African i, Tripoli-
tanian ii and iii, Knossos 4/5 from the
eastern Mediterranean.
The first phenomenon observed is
that each of these territorial entities
seems to play an important role in the
local micro-economy by placing at the
forefront particular goods for trade. Li-
para produced alum-rock during the
first imperial period, Milazzo perhaps
produced salted fish, and the coastal
centres on the Tyrrhenian Sea pro-
duced wine.
Fig. 3. Spinella type amphora from Naxos The situation of the coastal areas,
(after Ollà 2001, p. 48, fig. 7).
which opened out to the Ionian Sea, is
also extremely complex. The coloniae of
Tauromenion, Catina and Syracusae were characterized by a harbour area projecting to-
wards the Eastern Mediterranean and by a rural basin more or less placed immedi-
ately behind them inland.
Some small coastal and subcoastal centres – a villa dated to the iiird century ad
(Scifì-Forza d’Agrò)1 (Map i, G3), a late Roman settlement (Marina di Itala - Monte
Scuderi: Map i, G2)2 and a statio viaria (S. Alessio - Statio Palmae: Map i, G3)3 – have
offered amphorae produced at Naxos (amphorae Spinella type (Fig. 3), Keay lii (Figs.
4-5), Tripolitanian and in the eastern Mediterranean regions (Kapitaen ii, Agorà F65-
F66, lra2).
The role of the Tauromenion colony (Map i, G3), which probably maintained a con-
nection with the rural basin that produced wine, as remembered by Plinius Secundus
(the Elder Pliny),4 must have been important, even if this relationship is still not suffi-
ciently known and understood. In fact, only recently a relation has been proposed be-
tween this rural basin and the amphorae attested at Naxos.5
The role of the port of Naxos (Map i, G3), known for its complex of Horrea, where
wine dolia have been found,6 is connected to the activities of local amphora kilns in
use from the Hellenistic to the late Roman period. They produced amphorae desig-
nated for the transport of the local wine.7 The local production has been confirmed
by archeometrical analysis.8 The local amphorae are of small dimension. In the ear-
ly phases, the kilns produced amphorae similar to Dressel 2-4 (in the small and big
module) (Figs. 6-7), and later they produced a sort of Gauloises imitation (Figs. 8-9).9
The production continued into the Early Imperial period with amphorae of the

1 Lentini - Ollà 2001 a, pp. 123-129. 2 Lentini - Ollà 2001 b, pp. 107-114.
3 Statio Palmae sive Tamariciae, It. Ant., 87, 13. On the identification of the statio see, Lentini 1982, p. 163,
Lentini - Ollà 2001 c, pp. 115-121 and Portale 2005, p. 39; Sirena 2006, p. 3.
4 Plin., Nat. Hist., xiv, 16; on the Naxian wine see Wilson 1999, p. 268.
5 Statio Naxos, It. Ant., 87, 2, Uggeri 2004, pp. 206-207, Lentini 2001, pp. 26-29.
6 Lentini 2001, p. 25. 7 Lentini 2001, pp. 20-21.
8 Williams 2001, pp. 61-62. 9 Ollà 2001, p. 49.
roman sicily project: ceramics and trade 139

Figs. 4-5. Keay lii produced in Naxos (after Ollà 2001, p. 52, fig. 18 and p. 56, no. 16).

Figs. 6-7. Dressel 2/4 amphora from Naxos (after Ollà 2001, p. 48, fig. 2 and p. 54, no. 2).

Spello type. The Spello amphorae (Figs. 10-11) have some variants: the S. Alessio type
(Fig. 12) which derive their S. Alessio type-name from the name of the wreck from
140 daniele malfitana et alii

Figs. 8-9. Gauloises amphorae from Naxos (after Ollà 2001, p. 48, fig. 5 and p. 55, no. 5).

Figs. 10-11. Flattened wine amphora base from Naxos (after Ollà 2001, p. 49, fig. 7 and p. 54, no. 4).

which were first recovered, and the Spinella type.1 During the middle Imperial peri-
od the kilns produced amphorae of the mra1 type,2 and in the late Roman period they

1 Ollà 2001, p. 49.

2 On the production of amphorae type mra1 in Naxos, see Ollà 2001, p. 53, no. 16 and above all, Wil-
son 1990, p. 264, fig. 224 and p. 402 no. 128. Wilson confronts the amphorae found in Spinella property of
roman sicily project: ceramics and trade 141
produced Keay lii, which was consid-
ered as an «estrema evoluzione»1 of the
typical flattened wine amphora base
produced at Naxos
Naxos had to be, therefore, not only
a port, but a commercial settlement for
exporting local wine.
The situation is different in relation
to the southern region of Naxos, a ter-
ritory characterized by small rural set-
tlements located between Mt. Etna’s
slopes and the Ionian Sea, and said to be
located along the inner road of Via Pom-
peia.2 We know little about these places,
in many cases only the names have been
attested (e.g., Calatabiano or c.da An-
nunziata: Map i, G3), but they are im-
portant because they suggest the pres-
ence of settlements characterized by
mono-cultivation – in this case probably
wine, as suggested epigraphically in ref-
erence to the production of wooden
barrels for wine and as attested from the
literary sources.3
Along Via Pompeia, near Santa Venera
al Pozzo – statio Acium – (Map i, G3), an- Fig. 12. Amphora S. Alessio type from
other complex of kilns for the produc- Capo S. Alessio wreck
(after Ollà 2001, p. 118, fig. 3).
tion of wine amphorae has been identi-
fied.4 This complex is dated to the
beginning of the iv th century ad, from the presence of coins dating to Constantions
the Great. The kilns produced amphorae of the types Benghazi mr1,5 Keay liii and
their variants (Late Roman Amphora 1), as well as building materials.6 The nearby

Naxos with some amphorae published by Riley 1981, pp. 177-179. Wilson finds the same amphorae in Monte
Campanaio (Ag), in Marsala (Tp), in S. Vito Lo Capo (Tp), and in Isola della Femmine (Pa: Map i, C2). He
is decidedly leaning towards of a Sicilian origin of this type (contra Manacorda in Ostia iv, pp. 130-232:
Tripolitania; Riley 1981, pp. 177-179: Tunisia). About these problems see also Bonifay 2004, pp. 147-148.
1 This particular type of amphora is characterized by a flat bottom and a small ring foot and had been
previously defined in many ways: Forlimpopoli type i-iii (Moschella 1994); mra1 type, (Bacci 2001, p. 27).
This type has been defined also as amphora S. Alessio type by Lentini and Ollà. For this amphora see, Ol-
là 2001, p. 118. 2 See, Uggeri 2004, pp. 205-206.
3 cil x, 2, 7040; Strab. Geog. vi, 2-3; Expos. lxv, ggm 126, 8-9.
4 Statio Acium, It. Ant., 87, 3. See, Uggeri 2004, pp. 203-204 and Tortorici 2002, p. 321, see also the pre-
vious bibliography.
5 Amphora Keay lii type by the author: see Amari 2006, pp. 143, n. 5; 144, n. 6. I thank D. Malfitana and
M. Bonifay for their remarks as mr1.
6 Excavations carried out by the Superintendence of Catania; for a first edition of these types see Ama-
ri 2006, pp. 105-183 and Amari 2007, pp. 121-128.
142 daniele malfitana et alii
harbour of Capo Mulini (Map i, G3) may indicate the first step of a «vero e proprio sis-
tema integrato per lo sbarco, lo stivaggio, il trasporto e la ridistribuzione delle merci», destined
up to the colony of Catina.1
We know very little about the presence of amphorae found in the urban excava-
tions of Catina (Map i, G3) despite the importance of this great port city, which faced
towards the eastern Mediterranean and which the ruling class have been interested in
since the Middle Imperial period.
We also have very little information about the amphorae of the middle Imperi-
al date and that were found in the Roman quarter in the city near the hill of Mon-
The only exception to this poverty of knowledge is offered by recent underwater
surveys carried out close to the harbour.3
There is also insufficient information concerning the rural area of Catina mentioned
in the ancient sources. This area had to be extended from the southern hinterland near
Etna to the Margi valley and was characterized by the existence of expansive and rich
private properties (e.g. praedia Afiniana,4 the rural estate of Vibius Severus,5 belonging
to important members of the city elites (e.g. the property of Domitia Longina near to
Ramacca).6 The production was most probably grain and barley, perhaps alternating
with pod or olive and grapewine.7 In the town of Rocchicella near Menai (Mineo) (Map
i, F4) Keay lxi amphorae have been discovered.8 This area made use of some zones,
particularly, in the area between Agnone and Castelluccio (Map i, G4), for the trade of
goods among which lra 1, 2, 3, 4, 6, 10, African II and spatheia amphorae were present.
The goods could have been transported via the S. Leonardo river.9
During the Imperial period Megara’s statio (Map i, G4) along the via Pompeia a Cati-
na Syracusis was a centre for urban settlements that probably connected to the statio.10
The discovery of Keay lxii and lra2, in a village in the same area allows us to date
back the village from the v th to the vii th centuries ad.11
The situation of Syracusae (Map i, G4) is still undefined. From the surrounding ar-
eas, the presence of amphorae has been confirmed at two late Roman contexts: a fu-
neral hypogeum (Priolo Gargallo, c.da Spatinelli: Map i, G4) characterized by the use
of spatheia as funeral equipment12 and a small rural village (Sortino, C.da Giarra-
nauti: Map i, G4) which has given us above all North African cylindrical amphorae
(Keay xxxiv type) and spatheia.13
With regard to the colony of Syracusae, a most important harbour city,14 we know
about the existence of manufacturing industries since the Hellenistic period. They
also had a significant production in the Early Imperial period. In the quarter of the

1 Tortorici 2003, p. 332.

2 Branciforti - Amari 2005, pp. 48-77; for the history of the colonia, see Molè 1999.
3 Landing site in Catania-Villa Pacini, Ognina, Acicastello, Acitrezza, Capo Mulini, Tortorici 2002, pp.
272-335. 4 cil , x, 2, 7041, i-ii th century ad.
5 cil x, 7022 b, Misterbianco, ii-iii th century ad.
6 ae 1985, 483; about the settlements and findings from these sites see Bonacini 2007.
7 Valenti 1997-1998. 8 Arcifa (in press).
9 La Fauci 2004, pp. 21-26. 10 Sirena 2006.
11 Cacciaguerra 2007. 12 Picone 1994, p. 141.
13 Basile 1996. 14 Plin., Nat. Hist., 3, 89.
roman sicily project: ceramics and trade 143
kerameikos there was production of a ceramic type called «a pasta grigia» (the so-called
Campana C), which was later replaced by the «ceramica di Sangiuliano» and by a ce-
ramic «a pareti sottili» (thin-walled) in the ist century ad. Unfortunately, these classes
of pottery are still generally unknown.1 However, published data from the excava-
tions of the city are scarce. Our extensive knowledge on amphorae has been attained
from excavations carried out in the late Roman cemeteries; the cemetery found at Vil-
la Maria,2 the hypogeum of Saint Giuliano,3 and a small amphora dump dating to the
Early Imperial period found near the necropolis of Saint Lucia (vi-vii th century ad).4
Other amphorae come from the so-called «Piccolo Porto» or Lakkios, a small repaired
port, which is no longer accessible due to rising sea levels.5 We do have some infor-
mation thanks to a published pottery catalogue that contains amphorae coming from
an important Late Roman urban cemetery (Vigna Cassia cemetery and Vigna Cassia
A large amount of information on amphorae produced in the Aegean area (Kapi-
taen i and ii and lra 1 and 2) comes from underwater discoveries.7
Because of these attestations we have to reconsider the observations of J. Rougè,
according to whom the presence of three great ports along the Ionian coast of Sicily
was considered excessive in relation to the geographical lenght of the coast.8 Despite
the fact that the coast was not very wide, the trade around this area was highly prof-
itable as is becoming evident from the discoveries.
Few attestations of amphorae are noted from the immediate coastal enclaves south
of the colony of Syracusae, which were connected with the surrounding areas via the
Dirillo River. This river represents the natural border of the Southern coast of Sicily
and a boundary of the territory of Agrigentum. Morphologically the coast of Syracusae
is characterized by a series of small natural landing sites active during the Imperial pe-
riod and connected through the extension per maritima loca of the ancient Via Helori-
na, that joined together the coastal area with Syracusae.9 The inner landscape is char-
acterized by the Iblei plateau crossed by a Roman period road, the so-called Via
Selinuntina,10 which corresponded to an earlier, Hellenistic, route.

Compared to the few sites/settlements inhabited during the early centuries of the
Empire, we observe a growth in the number of small rural villages from the iv th cen-
tury ad. They are often testified to by the presence of tombs and cemeteries.
Cities under a Roman administration and statute are few, for example Camarina11
(Map i, E5) and Gela12 (Map i, E4), and both seem to fall into disuse since the Au-
gustan period. Recent topographical surveys are more and more lending support to

1 About these problems see Malfitana 2006a, p. 408. 2 Fallico 1971, pp. 581-639.
3 Gentili 1956, pp. 156-158. 4 Orsi 1925, p. 204.
5 Kapitaen 1967-1968, pp. 167-180. 6 Ancona 1998.
7 Recent research (La Fauci 2002) has taken care to organize the previous bibliography in order to offer
a new comprehension of many wrecks found in the area of Capo Ognina.
8 Rougè 1966, p. 136. 9 It. Ant., p. 95. 10 Uggeri 2004, p. 183 sgg.
11 The settlement is situated on the route of the ancient via Helorina per marittima loca, Uggeri 2004, p.
12 In this area the existence of praedia and of the mansio Calvisana has been attested, cited by It. Ant.,
89, 6; 95, 7.
144 daniele malfitana et alii
the image during the middle and late Roman periods of a territory characterized by
many productive small villages. These centres of rural aggregation, defined also as
centres of «mercati permanenti e mercati periodici»,1 played an important role within the
economical dynamics of the Late Roman period. This phenomenon is becoming vis-
ible thanks to recent surveys and some published data coming from excavations (e.g.,
Cava d’Ispica (Map i, F5), Caucana-Punta Secca (Map i, F5), Pachino (Portus Pachinus:
Map i, G5, see infra).
We can distinguish hill cities (e.g. Modica,2 Mutyce: Map i, F5 and Ragusa:3 Hybla
Heraia: Map i, F5) that may have controlled the surrounding rural hinterland.4 Be-
tween the Ippari and Dirillo rivers a rural hill area has been discovered that produced
a local wine, perhaps the so-called Mesopotamium. The Mesopotamium, a famous wine
reported by painted inscriptions dating back to the Early Imperial period attested on
amphorae, was exported to Pompeii, Carthage and Vindonissa.5
Villae, such as Tellaro’s villa, and the villas found at Falconara di Noto and in S.
Teresa Longarini,6 represent important aspects of this territory in Sicily.7 Keay lii am-
phorae have come from the late layers of the Roman villa in Borgellusa near Avola8
(Map i, G5). The villa was productive from the beginning of the ist century ad until
the v th century. It is possible to connect this villa to a little rural complex found not
far from S. Marco di Avola9 (Map i, G5), and it is characterized by the presence of
structures for producing and storing wine, oil and cereals.
These small villae can be linked to coastal harbours that are characterized by small
landing-stages, which have been flourishing since the Late Roman period. During the
Late Roman time, it is possible to notice a phenomenon that characterizes this south-
ern area of Sicily. There appears to have been a boom of small and medium-sized set-
tlements (vici?) sited near ports and characterized by the presence of famous wrecks
(Marzamemi’s wreck a, b, d f, k, j: Map i, G5).
All of these Roman wrecks suggest long-term use and the commercial importance
of the route of the Sicily channel, especially for ships coming from the Eastern
Mediterranean (as attested by the discovery of many examples of Kapitän i-ii) and
from Tunisia (African cylindrical amphorae).10
It emerges, therefore, the great potentiality of this geographical area, situated
between the Sicily channel, the hinterland of Syracuse and the rural settlements of
southern Sicily. Unfortunately, however, the ancient condition of this area is still not
well known.

1 Cracco Ruggini 2000, p. 172.

2 Modica/Mutyca: hill-top town along the via Helorina a Mesopotamium ad Hereum, see Portale 2006, p. 43.
3 The condition of the city of Ragusa/Hybla has been considered as an example of a part of Sicily in
which «flourishing urban centres were not a major feature in the landscape», Wilson 2005, p. 228.
4 Portale 2006, p. 43.
5 cil iv, 2602; cil viii, 22640,8. Uggeri 2004, p. 221 considers the wide and fertile hinterland close to
the modern centre of Vittoria as the ancient statio Mesopotamia.
6 On Tellaro villa, Wilson 2005, p. 234; on S. Teresa Longarini villa (iii ad?): Wilson 1990, pp. 211-212;
on Falconara villa: Wilson 1990, p. 389, no. 94.
7 About the predominant rural importance of this geographical area, see Wilson 2005, p. 234.
8 Basile 1994, p. 25, no. 20. 9 Wilson 1990, p. 192.
10 On all of these wrecks see Parker 1992, pp. 267, no. 670; p. 267, no. 673; p. 268, no. 675; p. 269, no. 678;
p. 269, no. 679.
roman sicily project: ceramics and trade 145
We can only report some exceptions, as in the case of the city of Modica and its
ager (studied by V. G. Rizzone and A. M. Sammito) and the cities of Vendicari1 (Map
i, G5), Castellazzo della Marza2 (Map i, F5), and Caucana3 (Map i, F5). At these sites,
the recovery of African cylindrical amphorae testifies the important relations with
African provinces,4 and the discovery of amphorae from Egypt (lra7) and the East-
ern Mediterranean (lra1, amphora “Samos cistern type”)5 also indicate broad ex-
change networks.
The most relevant and important data for the purposes of this discussion concerns
the city of Pachino (Portus Pachyni: Map i, G5), where the presence of kilns for the
production of amphorae has been attested. The kilns were sited close to an artisanal
area for the production of salted fish.6 In the same territory, also known in ancient
times for the evidence of salt-mines,7 archaeologists have found another area for the
production of salted fish sauce in Capo Passero.8 Also, in this case, the local produc-
tion of amphorae could be correlated to the production of consumer goods. It is pos-
sible to reconsider the role of Pachino-Capo Passero, at the most southern point of
Sicily, as an important center for production and trade of goods along the Eastern
route of the Mediterranean Sea.
Anna Lisa Palazzo

Western Sicily: a first overview

The data collected comes essentially from a range of systematic investigations and
surveys made in Sicily over the last 50 years.9
The published data10 gives us a heterogeneous view full of discontinuities and dif-
ferences, which also concern the presence of amphoras on the island. This variegat-
ed data – together with the natural geomorphological features of Sicily and its over-
all geographic size – led to the application of a micro-areal study, based on the
investigation of small areas. From the general data presentation we can obtain sum-
marized reflections about amphorae imports and about local handcraft production,
but these reflections may obviously be modified later in the course of the research.
At the same time, it is possible to discover – on the basis of the archaeological evi-

1 Modica: Rizzone 1997 and Rizzone-Sammito 2001, pp. 5-141; Cittadella di Vendicari (Map i, G5): Ar-
cifa 2000, pp. 234-241. 2 Uggeri 1997-1998, p. 326.
3 Pelagatti - Di Stefano 1999, pp. 9-11 and 21; De Romanis 2004, pp. 303-312 and Wilson 2005.
4 Fallico 2005, pp. 201-222: African cylindrical amphorae. Wilson 1990, p. 231 and Wilson 2005, pp. 223-
237 proposed similarities with North-African villages inhabited in Tunisia and in Tripolitania during the iv th
century ad. About this see also Sgarlata 2005.
5 See Pelagatti 1972, p. 100 and, for the type, Arthur 1985, p. 253, tav. 6.1 (Naples).
6 Wilson 1990, p. 393, no. 177.
7 Portus Pachyni, a town on the southern tip of eastern Sicily, was also the site of a cemetery, Agnello
1953, pp. 167-183. Bacci 1982-1983, pp. 345-347. On salt-mines near Pachino (Lacus Cocanicus: Plin., Nat. Hist.,
xxxi, 73, 79) see Wilson 1990, p. 237 and Portale 2006, pp. 53-54.
8 Pachino: Bacci 1982-1983, pp. 345-347; Capo Passero: Bacci 1984-1985, Wilson 2005, p. 232.
9 For a summary of the new historiographical approaches and of the most recent archaeological re-
search about Roman Sicily, see Campagna 2003. Exemplar is the critical approach of Portale 2006, al-
though it concerns the Hellenistic-Roman periods.
10 The majority of the research was made on occasion and the results were edited in different publica-
tions, or in mere preliminary reports.
146 daniele malfitana et alii
dence – new information about the settlement dynamics through the Roman, Late
Roman and Byzantine times.
Over the last twenty years the most important surveys in Western Sicily have been
carried out in areas close to the cities of the Classical period, the best known being
Heraclea Minoa1 (Map i, C4), Himera2 (Map i, D3) and Entella3 (Map i, C3). Other
projects tried to determine the diachronic changes in Roman agricultural areas and
villages, including the quarters of Campanaio4 (Montallegro: Map i, C4), Castagna5
(Map i, C4), Saraceno6 di Favara (Map i, D4) and Cignana7 (Map i, D4) in the area of
Agrigentum (Map i, C4). Few urban archaeology investigations were made systemati-
cally, including Thermae Himeraeae8 (Termini Imerese: Map i, D3), Agrigentum9 (Map
i, C4), Ietas10 (Monte Iato: Map i, C3), Segesta11 (Map i, B3), Philosophiana12 (Map i,
E4) and partially Panhormus13 (Map i, C2), Lilybaeum 14 (Marsala: Map i, A3), and in
the modern town of Milena15 (Map i, D4).
Information about the amphora production centres is available to us thanks to the
archaeometric investigations of the pottery of Thermae Himeraeae, Segesta, Agrigen-
tum16 and more recently Alcamo Marina17 (Map i, B2) (in a quarter called Foggia).
These investigations provide information about the origin of some transport am-
phorae, considered to be local.
On the northwestern coast of Sicily there are still some aspects to clarify concern-
ing amphorae presence and commercial exchanges during the Roman period. A re-
cent fundamental advance in transport amphorae study was made thanks to some
specific surveys made by the Archaeological Superintendence of Palermo – started in
1990 – in order to locate all Roman sites in the province. The previous documentation
has been deeply enriched by these. For example, in 1986 there were 63 known sites,
and today there are 323. Some of them were systematically analysed, as we can see
from different sources.18 However, there is little information about the transport con-
tainers, their different types and their quantities.
Thanks to these recent investigations we were able to obtain some general infor-
mation. First, the few identified towns were primarily situated along the coasts: Pan-

1 Wilson 1980-1981; Wilson 1981. 2 Himera iii 1, 2.

3 Entella 1988, pp. 1478-1491; Canzanella 1988; Canzanella 1992; Canzanella 1993.
4 Wilson 1982; Wilson 1990, Wilson 1996, Wilson 2000.
5 Wilson 1985; Wilson 1993; Wilson 1996.
6 Castellana-McConnell 1986; Castellana-McConnel 1990; Castellana 1992.
7 Fiorentini 1993-1994, p. 729. 8 Termini Imerese.
9 In particular, for the testimonies of Paleochristian Agrigentum, see Bonacasa Carra 1986; Bonacasa
Carra 1987; Bonacasa Carra 1990; Agrigento 1995; Bonacasa Carra 1996.
10 Isler 1991.
11 Camerata Scovazzo 1993-1994, p. 1452; Camerata Scovazzo 1996; Molinari 1997 and other
contributions in Atti delle Seconde Giornate internazionali di studi sull’area elima, Atti del Convegno (Gibellina,
22-26 October 1994), Pisa-Gibellina, 1997 and Terze Giornate Internazionali di Studi sull’area Elima, Atti del
convegno (Gibellina-Erice-Contessa Entellina 1997), Pisa-Gibellina, 2000.
12 The most recent are: La Torre 1993-1994; La Torre 1994; Bonacasa Carra 2002.
13 The most recent are: Bonacasa Carra 2000; Di Stefano 2002, pp. 310-312; Spatafora 2003.
14 Di Stefano 1980, pp. 14-17; Di Stefano 1980-1981; Di Stefano 1982-1983, pp. 355-358; Di Stefano
1984; Caruso 2000. 15 Arcifa - Tomasello 2005.
16 Agrigento: Agrigento 1995; Agrigento and Termini Imerese: Belvedere et alii 1998 a; Belvedere et
alii 1998 b. 17 Giorgetti 2006.
18 Vassallo - Greco 1992; Di Stefano 1997-1998; Di Stefano 2002.
roman sicily project: ceramics and trade 147
hormus (Map i, C2), Soluntum (Map i, D2), Thermae Himeraeae (Map i, D3) and
Cephaloedium (Map i, E2) were located on the Via Valeria.1 The archaeological inves-
tigation demonstrated that these cities were economically dynamic since the Middle
Imperial period; this dynamism continued through time and increased in the iv th cen-
tury. Next, the importance of the cities is very much connected to their topographi-
cal positions and to the presence of their ports. During the Late Roman period, these
ports were part of a commercial network, which was connected with the route of the
grain supply to the city of Rome.2 This is particularly the case after Constantinople
obtained the right to use Egyptian wheat resources in ad 332.3 It is for this reason that
Sicily became important to the economic interests of the Empire by becoming a
support for the wheat convoys coming from Africa. In fact, at certain times (famine,
meteorological problems, etc.), the island was the supply base of extraordinary quan-
tities of cereals to Rome.4
In northwestern Sicily, apart from Thermae Himeraeae, very few amphorae were
found in the urban contexts that were stratigraphically analysed.5
In Cephaloedium (Map i, E2) almost all the amphorae found were among the car-
goes of wrecks (Capo Plaia, La Calduna). In the wreck found at La Calduna, at the foot
of the promontory on which the urban site is set, the majority of the material com-
prised of amphorae (spatheia, lra3) and African red slip wares. The shipwreck is dat-
ed at the vi th century ad.6 The most recent amphora dated, from the period analysed,
has aspects in common with both an amphora type having an umbo-shaped bottom
– possibly produced in North Africa7 – and a type coming from the Black Sea and the
Aegean area (Kuzmanov xx type).8 Both types of containers are attested in Italy from
the second half of the vi th century to the viii th century, and they were found at some
sites on the Black and Mediterranean Seas.9
The material of the «Mandralisca collection» at the archaeological museum of the
modern city of Cefalù are few, but relevant. The collection is made up of different
materials, such us inscriptions, vessels, and stamped amphorae. Despite the impossi-
bility of reconstructing their provenance, this collection is an important contribution
to the circulation of stamped amphorae in Sicily, and it confirms the importance of
the epigraphic data in reconstructing ancient routes. In the case of Almagro 50 of
Baetic origin, it was possible to make a precise comparison within other material for
which the origin was known.10
One of the sites with the most relevant and largest presence of ceramic material is
Thermae Himeraeae (Termini Imerese: Map i, D3), with important findspots, such as

1 This road served the northern Sicily coast, and it is called «Valeria» in Strabo, Strab. vi 266. To re-
construct its route, see Uggeri 2004, pp. 117-162.
2 A rich bibliography about this really discussed issue. In general, Vera 1997-1998.
3 Cod. Iust. xi 2-4 (ed. Krueger, Berlin, 1877, p. 428 sgg.). For this issue, see Cracco Ruggini 1982-1983,
in partic. pp. 482-483, note 9. 4 Vera 1989, pp. 166-167.
5 I am talking about the fragments of the cities of Panhormus and Soluntum. For the specific data, infra.
6 Purpura 1983. The dating was made thanks the finding of some eastern amphorae of Byzantine
period, such as lra3 and some North African spatheia.
7 Lusuardi Siena - Murialdo 1991, p. 138 and p. 136, tab. 9. 8 Kuzmanov 1973, p. 19, no. xx.
9 For an up-to-date distribution map of these types, Lebole 1998, pp. 763-764, fig. 3.
10 Garozzo 2003, p. 614, note 558. For a distribution map of these amphorae, see Denaro 1995, p. 192,
fig. 5.
148 daniele malfitana et alii
the «Villa di Buonfornello»1 (Map i, D3), «Villa di Terre Bianche»2 and «Costa Schia-
vo» centre.3 More precisely, the data about the amphorae4 supports the hypothesis of
a long occupation at these sites are.
«Villa di Terre Bianche» is an exemplifying case. Its most ancient amphorae date
back to the ist century ad (Dressel 21-22 types), and the majority of finds are African
Imperial amphorae from the first half of the iiird century, while others date to the v th
century (types Keay xxvb) or between the first half of the v th and the beginning of
the vii th century (types Keay lxiia and g; xxxva, lxiv). The presence of the types
xxxv and lxii – both with their two variants, a and b – prove that the commercial
relationship with North Africa (Tunisia) also continued after the Vandals incursions
in Sicily.
In the same area, important programmes of investigations – started over ten years
ago – began to define settlement modalities5 and the origin of the ceramic products.6
This happened with the small, spherical or ovoid amphorae with short and thin
necks that seem to be imitations of Eastern amphorae;7 in the publication of Ther-
mae Himeraeae they are called «Termini Imerese Type 151-354» (Fig. 13). Their charac-
teristic feature is that the handle on the neck of the container frequently has artisan’s
handprints. These containers were found in strata of the iv th and v th centuries in the
city Thermae Himeraeae (Termini Imerese), in the Paleochristian necropolis of Agri-
gentum and in Lipara.8 The investigations carried out on the fabric have revealed that
their composition is very similar to the composition of types of pottery probably pro-
duced in Sicily (eg. lamps and coarse wares, also produced in the Middle Imperial pe-
riod). The amphorae were interpreted as wine containers.9 Their commerce was
probably small-scale and within the regional context.
These types of amphora were recently compared to some transport containers
(types 1 and 2) of the second phase of use in the public roman bath at Bagnoli – San
Gregorio10 (Map i, F2), around 3 km away from Agathyrnum (Map i, F2, Capo d’Or-
lando, in the Messina district), dated to between the middle of the v th century and the
first decades of the vi th century. The archaeometric analysis11 carried out on the types

1 The villa should have been a stopping place, as also G. Uggeri stated, Uggeri 2004, p. 84.
2 Vassallo in Himera iii, 2, p. 354 sgg. 3 Vassallo in Himera iii, 2, pp. 349-354.
4 For the catalogue of the material, Cucco 1995.
5 «Carta Archeologica d’Italia Project» (1999-2001). This project has expanded the researches in the area
of Termini and in the area of the watershed of the river Northern Imera and Southern Imera, for the re-
sults, see the volume no. 42 of the Forma Italiane, Burgio 2002.
6 Archeometrical researches on the pottery found in Termini Imerese, in collaboration with the Istituto
di Mineralogia e Petrografia dell’Università di Palermo. For their results, see Belvedere et alii 1998 A e B.
7 Termini Imerese, pp. 59-67 and pp. 223-225. The excavators think that the lra1 amphorae maybe have
been a specimen for the production of the containers of Termini.
8 Messina 2000, pp. 113-124; Ancona 2000, pp. 99-112.
9 It is desirable to identify the local amphora productions and to define the extension of the commerce
of Sicilian wines during the Imperial age. About this problem, see Panella 1993; Wilson 1990, p. 192.
10 Spigo - Ollà - Capelli 2006, p. 455, note 35. In particular, fig. 4, no. 1, 4 (“type 1” with a thick edge
and triangular-sectional-shaped); nos. 6, 7 (‘type 2’ with a slightly bell-shaped edge and rounded ex-
11 See appendix by C. Capelli in Spigo - Ollà - Capelli 2005, pp. 460-462. In particular, the amphorae
compared with the types found in Thermae Himeraeae are of the group 1, probably of local production, as
proven by the petrographic characteristics of the fabric.
roman sicily project: ceramics and trade 149

(not in scale)

Fig. 13. “Termini Imerese Type 151-354” (after Termini Imerese, nos. 177, 511, 512, 513, 850, 851).
150 daniele malfitana et alii
at Bagnoli confirmed a local production of small morphologically varying amphorae
(Fig. 2).
In regards to the imports found in Thermae Himeraeae (Termini Imerese), a certain
observation emerges: in strata of the iv th and v th centuries there are almost exclusively
African containers, but of different types («Anfore cilindriche grandi» and spatheia). In
the middle of the v th century we stress a slight contraction of imports, but in the ur-
ban stratigraphies, the presence of the amphorae types Keay xxxv and lxii – both
with their two variants, a and b – proves that the commercial relationship with North
Africa also continued after the Vandals invaded Sicily.1 The single eastern fragment
belongs to the type lra4.2
Moving westward, by the western part of Sicily, the settlement modalities and the
data about the amphorae provide us with a different view. During the Middle Impe-
rial period the occupied areas expanded over the region and were usually provided
with production establishments.3 In the countryside, villages flourished, showing a
lively economic activity, supported by the ceramic findings.
In Segesta (Map i, B3) there is an limited presence of Dressel 1 amphorae4 (with
few fragments represented) and a presence of some of the oldest types of Greco-Ital-
ic wine amphorae, not from the Tyrrhenian in central Italy, but quite possibly from
Sicily. This would confirm that, both for the city and its surrounding area, (a similar
pattern is evidenced across all of Sicily) «un’ampia diffusione non solo del vino italico, ma
anche di quello di produzione locale»5 was common.
Type Dressel 21-22 amphorae complete the assemblage of amphorae at Segesta.
The archaeometric analyses carried out on these have shown they were produced
in western Sicily, probably in the area of Segesta, although apparently at a small
Between the ist and the iv th centuries ad in the area of Segesta various other
wares arrived (particularly, type A of African red slip ware). The production of oil
(an oil press was found in Segesta),7 wine and wheat has been documented for do-
mestic consumption.8 From the middle Roman Imperial period until the iv th cen-
tury in the area of Segesta there wasn’t any evidence of imported amphorae. This
aspect marks the difference between the area of Segesta and the other contempo-
rary cities in Sicily. According to I. Neri9 this data could indicate a complete self-suf-
ficiency of the territory of Segesta. In fact, in its settlements the economy was
probably based on polycultivation, which allowed its inhabitants to be economical-
ly independent.
From the iv th century until the middle of the Byzantine period the economic
situation seems to change: there is a switch from the monoculture of wheat to an ex-
change economy. This hypothesis is confirmed by the presence of African Red Slip

1 Termini Imerese, p. 221. 2 Termini Imerese, p. 223, no. 176.

3 Cambi 2005, p. 630, fig. 3.
4 Cambi 2003, p. 152. A similar situation is attested in the area of Segesta.
5 Cambi 2003, p. 151. 6 Denaro 1995, p. 199.
7 Camerata Scovazzo 1993-1994, p. 1452; Bernardini et alii 2000, pp. 109-110.
8 Proven by the finding of numerous fragments of mills made by lava stone at some inland sites in the
area of Segesta, Cambi 2003, p. 161. 9 Bernardini et alii 2000, p. 112.
roman sicily project: ceramics and trade 151
wares – the latest forms of type d – and of North-African and Eastern amphorae (the
later being less numerous) in some Late Roman and Byzantine centres in the area of
Segesta. The need to import large quantities of oil from Africa could be a clue to the
switch to the latifundia, based on the monoculture of cereals.1
In the territory of Segesta there are several important examples of agricultural cen-
tres with imported goods. For instance, the settlements in Ponte Bagni2 (Map i, B3),
which correspond to the statio of Aquae Segestanae (Map i, B3) and are mentioned in
the Itinerarium Antonini as between Parthenicum and Drepanum, on the Via Valeria, have
yidded imported wares. In addition, Rosignolo,3 a mansio hypothetically identified as
the site ad Olivam (Map i, B3), which was the last destination cited in the Itinerarium
Antonini along the way from Agrigentum and Lilybaeum,was also a source for import-
ed ceramics.
From the iv th century until the first half of the v th century, there is an increase in
the import of amphorae, above all of «contenitori cilindrici di medie dimensioni» (Keay
xxv), spatheia and other North-African amphorae (Keay xxxv, xxxvi, lxii).
After the second half of the v th century the numerous small-scale settlements
spread out over the area seem to contract significantly in size, and some are defini-
tively and simultaneously abandoned. The most recent interpretations tend to ex-
clude Vandal invasions as a possible cause.4 Nevertheless, the importance and the con-
sequences of the Genseric’s invasion of Sicily are still discussed.5 Surely the island was
not immune to barbarian invasions,6 as attested in the extract of the Codex Theo-
dosianus, which refers to the trail of destruction the Vandals left behind them in the
Sicilian countryside.7
Since the middle of the vii th century ad in the rural area surrounding Segesta, the
imports of African Red Slip wares and Eastern amphorae decreased. By the end of
that century life in the countryside of the western Sicily part «sembra languire»,8 and
the settlement modality is represented by the progressivel disappearing villages,
which caused the area to loose its economic and cultural role.
Moving to the area of Drepanum (Trapani), important information comes from the
quarter called Foggia in the modern city of Alcamo Marina9 (Map i, B2). Recently, the
presence of a local production of amphorae has been identified in the area. The kilns
discovered – dating between the end of the ist century bc and the beginning of the v th
century ad – have unusual architectonic and structural solutions that give us new in-
formation about the production methods and about the types of material produced
(Fig. 14).

1 Cambi 2005, p. 633. The new need is connected to the change in the political-economic situation on
the Island, after the Egyptian wheat supplies were directed to Constantinople, in ad 332. See the consider-
ations in Neri and in Molinari - Neri 2004. 2 Neri, in Bernardini et alii 2000, pp. 117-121.
3 Neri, in Bernardini et alii 2000, p. 118. 4 Cambi 2005, p. 634.
5 According to R. J. A. Wilson: only some cities would have consistent evidence of destruction due the
barbarian violence (e.g. Lilybaeum, and Agrigentum, which was already in decline); in spite of the decrease
of rural settlements, numerous Sicilian centres would have survived; see Wilson 1990, pp. 330-331.
6 About the effects of the Vandalic incursions in Sicily, see Vera 1997-1998, pp. 58-59.
7 Codex Theodosianus, vii, 13, 20. The damage of the raids was so extensive that Valentinian III partially
exempted the landholders (having suffered the greatest loss) from taxes.
8 Cambi 2005, p. 635. 9 Giorgetti 2006.
152 daniele malfitana et alii

Fig. 14. Plan of the kiln discovered in Alcamo marina (after Giorgetti 2006, fig. 3).

During the excavation campaigns (2003-2005) about 300 fragments of amphorae

type Dressel 21-22 were collected and analysed. On the basis of the traces of overfir-
ing and rubefaction, all fragments were considered to be production wasters.
The investigation showed the existence of a local production chain of Dressel 21-
22 amphorae over the ist century. At least two variants were distinguished: Alcamo A
(Fig. 15) and Alcamo B1 (Fig. 16), which differ with regard to the dimensions of their
mouths and total heights. The fabric is coarse and greyish-red on the exterior; inside
the colour is reddish-brown2 (see, the following contribution by E. Botte).
Moving to the area of the province of Agrigentum (Map i, C4), some surveys have
discovered which seem to have been used for a long time, from the Hellenistic
phase of Roman domination until the Late Roman time. Among these are the rural
settlements found in the quarters of Paradiso,3 Miccina,4 Bonera,5 Cugna6 and
Narasette7 (Map i, C3) (to mention only a few). In particular, the farm of Narasette

1 Gonzales Muro 2006.

2 For these considerations, the most recent publication is Botte 2007.
3 Town of Naro (Map i, D4), farm constructed during the Roman Imperial time, La Lomia 1986; Be-
jor 1986, p. 482.
4 Town of Sambuca di Sicilia (Map i, C3), farm used since the Hellenistic Age till the Late Antiquity, De
Miro 1967, p. 183; Bejor 1974, p. 1299.
5 Town of Menfi (Map i, B3), Hellenistic-Roman farm, used till the Late Imperial time, Castellana 1991.
6 Town of Palma di Montechiaro (Map i, D4), Castellana 1983, p. 124; Bejor 1986, pp. 472, 483.
7 Town of Palma di Montechiaro (Map i, D4), Bove 1994, p. 81.
roman sicily project: ceramics and trade 153

Fig. 16. Dressel 21-22, Alcamo B

(after Giorgetti 2006, tav. 33).

Fig. 15. Dressel 21-22, Alcamo A offers a deep stratification, being used
(after Giorgetti 2006, tav. 32). until the vi th century, as indicated by the
ceramic evidence.1
Other long-lived farms were discov-
ered in the background of Thermae Selinuntinae (Sciacca, Map i, C3): in the quarters
of Gaddimi,2 in the locality of Montagnola3 and Scunchipani,4 in the quarter of Case
Antogna,5 in Case Galati6 and in Case Saraceno.7 These sites are full of fragments of
red slip ware and coarse ware, which confirm that the farms were used until the
Byzantine period.

1 Castellana 1983, pp. 136-140; Bejor 1986, pp. 471, 482; Uggeri 2004, p. 218.
2 The farm was used from the iv th century bc until the Roman Imperial period, Tirnetta 1978, pp. 158-
164; Bejor 1986, p. 483; Wilson 1988, p. 213.
3 A Rural settlement occupied during the v-iv th centuries bc and flourished again during the Roman and
Late Roman periods, Tirnetta 1978, pp. 170-171; Giustolisi 1981, p. 119; Bejor 1986, p. 483.
4 A Rural settlement, Ciaccio 1900-1904, pp. 413-414; Tirnetta 1978, pp. 169-170; Giustolisi 1981, p. 120;
Bejor 1986, p. 483.
5 A Rural settlement used since the Roman period untill the Byzantine period, Giustolisi 1981, p. 107.
6 A Late Roman farm, Bejor 1986, p. 483.
7 A Rural settlement used since the Roman age untill the Byzantine period, Giustolisi 1981, p. 107.
154 daniele malfitana et alii
In other cases, such as the quarters of
Guardabasso1 and Locogrande, farms
were abandoned between the late Re-
publican period and the beginning of
the Imperial time, but they restarted
their activity from the iind till the v th
Between the iv th and the v th centuries
some rural complexes were construct-
ed to exploit the area (e.g., Saraceno di
Favara3 (Map i, D4) and Cignana4 (Map
i, D4) near Naro (Map i, D4), which
seem to overlap with older villae.
In the same period settlements a few
miles away from each other were
constructed in the quarter of Verdura5
(Map i, C4) and in the quarter of
Carabollace6 (Map i, C4), in Sciacca. In
the area where they are located there
Fig. 17. Spatheia type Bonifay 3 are two larger settlements – Verdura7
from Carabollace and Carabollace – around which there
(courtesy Soprintendenza . Agrigento). used to be numerous agricultural
Some African i (Keay xxv, xxxv) and Eastern (lra1 and lra2) were discovered in
the village in the quarter of Verdura,9 in the area of the homonym river.
The complexes found in the quarter of Carabollace were probably part of a village
of sailors and merchants. These complexes were probably used to store food and im-
ported goods. This site was presumably a coastal fort constructed in such a manner
that it was possible to moor and to load people and goods. Ceramics were probably
used by the inhabitants of the settlements, but also distributed to nearby centres in
the region. The commercialization of goods towards the interior was surely sup-
ported by the nearby presence of the Carabollace river. The analysis of the amphorae

1 Bejor 1974, pp. 1297-1298; Tirnetta 1978, pp. 165-167.

2 The settlement seems to have been populated untill the v th century, Bejor 1974, pp. 1294-1295; Tir-
netta 1978, pp. 167-169; Giustolisi 1981, p. 120; Bejor 1986, p. 483.
3 Castellana-McConnell 1986; Castellana-McConnel 1990; Castellana 1992.
4 Fiorentini 1993-1994, p. 729. For a first edition of the amphorae, Rizzo-Zambito (in press). Around
50 amphorae of different provenience (African and Eastern Aegean) were studied. They were dated be-
tween the last quarter of the v th century and the end of the vi th century.
5 Parello-Amico-D’Angelo (in press).
6 For the first data concerning the presences of the pottery, see Caminneci-Franco-Galioto (in
7 The area surrounding the outfall of the river Verdura has been hypothetically identified with the sta-
tio of Allava (It. Ant. 88, 6), Bejor 1974, p. 1279. The statio was set 12 miles away from Sciacca and from Cena,
present on the Itinerarium from Syracusae to Lilybeum. For the last publication, see Uggeri 2004, pp. 170-171.
8 For example, the Roman rural settlement at the outfall of the Carboj river, Polito 2001.
9 Parello-D’amico-D’angelo (in press).
roman sicily project: ceramics and trade 155

Fig. 18. Hammamet iii from Carabollace

(courtesy Soprintendenza . Agrigento).

imported in this settlement1 demon- Fig. 19. Keay lii from Carabollace
(courtesy Soprintendenza . Agrigento).
strates that the site was economically
pluridirectional. Between the end of the
iv th and the beginning of the vii th century there were different commercial flows from
northern Africa:2 Tripolitanian iii; African ii b, iic, iid, Keay xxv, Spatheia type Boni-
fay 1, 2, 3 (Fig. 17); Keay xxxv var. B; Keay lv; Keay lvii; Keay viii b; Keay lxii a; Keay
lxii q and R/Bonifay amphora 45 var.A and B, Hammamet iii (Fig. 18), from the east-
ern Mediterranean (lra1, lra2, lra3), the Iberian peninsula (Almagro 50), and in
smaller measure from the Italian peninsula (Calabria) (Keay lii: Fig. 19)).3 This last
type is extremely important because, before discovering it, the presence of this type
of amphora was attested only on the eastern part of the island.4 The North African
amphorae found were produced in Byzacena (the atelier of Sullechtum), in the Sahel
region, in Zeugitana (the ateliers of Neapolis and Sidi-Zahruni) and also in the atelier of
Leptis Magna, in Tripolitania. Among the Eastern amphorae there are fragments of
lra1 produced in Cilicia and Cyprus, lra2 fragments produced in Greece – more pre-
cisely in Boeotia,5 and, which single fragment of lra3 seems to be produced in Eph-
esus, because of the macroscopic character of its fabric.
In the area of Agrigentum, the settlement in the town of Montallegro (Map i, C4)
– near the quarter of Campanaio6 – deserves mention. It is not only a small rural site,
but a large farm specialized in a wide range of activities related to agriculture. In this
settlement there were both residential buildings and places to work agricultural
products, such as a tank for oil. The area controlled by the centre used to produce a
surplus that apparently could also enable the export of oil – although on a small scale.
According to the excavator, the oil was stored in either locally produced amphorae7
or amphorae coming from different parts of the Mediterranean sea. This seems to be

1 For the study of amphorae, see C. Franco, in Caminneci - Franco - Galioto (in press).
2 Some samples produced in Byzacena (atelier of Sullechtum), in the Sahel region, in the ateliers of Zeugi-
tana (atelier of Neapolis, atelier of Sidi-Zahruni) and in atelier of Leptis Magna in Tripolitania were found.
3 This fragment seems to have Brutian origin – on the basis of the characteristics of the fabric – is mor-
phologically connected to some specimens found in the strata of abandonment of the Basilica Hilariana,
dated back to the vi th century, Pacetti 1998, p. 200, fig. 9, no. 2.
4 For the attestation of the Keay lii type in Eastern Sicily, see Palazzo, supra, pp. 134-145.
5 Production in Tanagra or Thebes.
6 Wilson 1982; Wilson 1990, Wilson 1996, Wilson 2000.
7 «Market centre for the sale of oil of different provenience and qualities», Wilson 1996, p. 30.
156 daniele malfitana et alii
confirmed by the 16 amphorae found,
some of which belong to the Keay xxv,
xxxiii and xxxv types. The majority of
them were produced in Africa, but
there is also a lra1 and an amphora
which is interpreted as a Sicilian imita-
tion of an Eastern type (Fig. 20).
The most important case of am-
phorae finds coming from urban
contexts is presented at the city of Agri-
gentum (Map i, C4). Almost all the pub-
lished data concern a catacomb com-
plex, composed of the Giambertoni
necropolis, the cave of Fragapane and
the sub divo necropolis, all set behind
the Hill of Temples.1 In strata of the
iiird-v th century ad some Italic,2 Iber-
ian,3 North African4 and Eastern5 am-
Fig. 20. lra 1 from Montallegro (Campanaio), phorae were discovered, but the major-
Sicilian imitation (after Wilson 1996, fig. 5.12). ity were produced in Tunisia.
In the area of the Sanctuary of As-
clepius – where archaeological investi-
gations were carried out between 1982
and 1989 and completed in 20006 – there are few amphora fragments from the Late
Republican and Late Roman periods. The African amphorae (African ii and Keay
xxv)7 were found in a rectangular cistern, north of the temple of Asclepius.

Moving to South-Central Sicily, the region presents different geological characteris-

tics – there are fertile plains with rivers, such as the Gela, the Maroglio and the Salso,
and high and moderate hills. These favourable conditions have always encouraged the
long-term presence of urban and rural agglomerates. From the Roman Age onwards
they were located in particular along the ways pointed out by the Itinerarium Antoni-
ni and by the Tabula Peutingeriana.8 Throughout the Roman period, rural settlements
were prevalent: latifundia were typically composed of the villa (pars dominica), a large
or moderate number of praedia and a vast quantity of farms controlled by the villa
and run by conductores, as corroborated by the stamp impressions put on bricks.9

1 Bonacasa Carra 1986; Bonacasa Carra 1987; Bonacasa Carra 1990; Agrigento 1995, Bonacasa
Carra 1996.
2 Types Dressel 1B and fragments of amphorae that could be dated back to between the ist and the iind
centuries that can be compared with some amphorae found in the area of Ostia.
3 Dressel 9 and Dressel 20, Keay xxiii/Almagro 51 C, Keay xix/Almagro 51 A-B (Lusitania).
4 Types: African i and ii, Keay xxv, Keay xxvi (spatheia); Keay xxxiv; Keay xxv y; Keay xlii.
5 Keay liii/lra1, Keay lxv/lra2, Keay liv/lra4 types.
6 For the edition of the excavations, see De Miro 2003. 7 De Miro 2003, p. 157, no. 202.
8 These are the internal routes from Thermae to Catina (for the reconstrucion of the route, see Uggeri
1969, pp. 162-164) and the internal routes from Catina to Agrigentum (the last publication is Uggeri 2004,
pp. 251-272). 9 Fiorilla 1997.
roman sicily project: ceramics and trade 157
The number, the topographical distribution and the evolution of the majority of
the villages are still uncertain, but some recent investigations made by the Superin-
tendence of Caltanissetta1 on some of these villages – almost totally unpublished –
have provided important information about their history and their relationships with
the surrounding area. The investigation in the site of Sophiana2 (Map i, E4), started
during the 1960s, attempted to clarify the relationship between the spaces of the set-
tlement and its surrounding area.3 The ancient centre – used since the beginning of
the Imperial period untill the vii th century – had thermae, Christian places of worship,
and an extensive necropolis. It appears to correspond to the statio Philosophiana on the
road from Catina to Agrigentum.4 The excavation campaigns carried out in 1988 and
1990 have made it possible to appreciate the importance of the village during the first
Imperial period. Since its earliest occupation, some table wares produced in Africa
and amphorae (in particular, Dressel 2-4) were imported. They attest to the existence
of important commercial flows in the Mediterranean basin.5 During the late iiird cen-
tury ad the village was downgraded to the status of subsidiary village (emporium),
connected to the villa of Piazza Armerina (Map i, E4). It is likely that Philosophiana
was the exit route for the latifundium surrounding the villa, and also the place in which
the agricultural labourers lived. One Keay lxii variant A amphora,6 a spatheion,7 an
amphora with a decoration “a pettine” on the shoulder8 and two amphorae – still par-
tially unpublished – were uncovered in the Byzantine strata.9 During the Late Roman
period, the role of this village was surely connected to the needs of the surrounding
area. The village was one of the centres of the urban life in this part of Sicily, where
the main economic activity was the cultivation of cereals.
Not far from Sophiana, in the modern town of Mazzarino (in the province of Cal-
tanissetta) there is a site in the quarter of Minnelli (Map i, E4). At this location, some
traces of a rural settlement were recently found, and the ceramics unearthed reveal
that it was populated from the iind to the v th centuries.10 Thanks to the pottery found,
excavators also dated a small artisan workshop to the vi-vii th centuries ad. These
finds include fragments of African red slip wares (Hayes 94, 104, 105)11 and «anfore con
anse a profilo ad orecchia» attributed to a local production. These fragments were com-
pared with the globular amphora having an umbo-shaped bottom and a decoration
«a pettine» on the shoulder, found in the public bath of Sophiana.12 Archaeologists

1 For a recent data presentation about this research, see Panvini 2002.
2 Founded by August, it is set 8 km away from the modern town of Mazzarino and 5 km away from the
«villa del Casale» close to the modern Piazza Armerina. About Sofiana, see Adamesteanu 1962, Bonomi
1964; Fiorilla 1990, pp. 158-166; La Torre 1993-1994; La Torre 1994; Bonacasa Carra 2002.
3 The last one publication is Bonacasa Carra 2002, pp. 101-111.
4 To the extraordinary persistence of the toponym, see Uggeri 2004, pp. 251, 253.
5 La torre 1993-1994, p. 767.
6 Unpublished. Preliminary news are edited in Panvini 2002, p. 195.
7 Lauricella 2002, p. 126, no. 36, fig. 14; Panvini 2002, p. 195, note 23 with the quoted comparison. This
specimen has a slender body.
8 Amphora with a decoration «a pettine» between the neck and the shoulder, Lauricella 2002, p. 126,
no. 37, fig. 15. 9 Panvini 2002, p. 195, note 22 e 23.
10 African Red slip wares A and D and amphorae, Panvini 2002, p. 196, note 28 and 29.
11 Panvini 2002, p. 197, fig. 14.
12 The fragment number 12918, coming from the room xi of the therma, Panvini 2002, p. 197, note 33.
158 daniele malfitana et alii
claim that these specimens are imitations of other amphorae from Chios, and these
data would indicate the beginning of a commercial relationship with the Aegean area,
in addition to the continual relationship with Africa – represented also by the Late Ro-
man presence of African red slip wares.
As regards the Aegadian islands, there is a complete lack of historic and archaeo-
logical documentation: the information about Roman and Byzantine complexes
comes primarily from surveys and wrecks. Typological and quantitative information
about amphorae is almost absent. Therefore, any conclusion about them is tentative
– even reckless. The most remarkable observation – at least at present – is the fact that
in spite of the geographical position of the islands, there are no late antique am-
phorae coming from North Africa, which one would expect to be the types most com-
monly imported.1 Another notable feature is the absence of Eastern amphorae
(Aegean Syro-Palestinian production), yet this seems to be connected to the lack of
published data rather than an actual archaeological absence. Also remarkable are the
few (but not absent) amphorae from Spain (Dressel 7-9; Dressel 20) and Italic am-
phorae (Dressel 2-4).
The data concerning the island of Cossyra (Pantelleria: Map i, A4) are a relevant
exception to the absence just described. There, systematic surveys (1996-2001) defined
the area populated throughout antiquity and found thousands of ceramic fragments.2
The publication of these data enriched our knowledge about the production/expor-
tation/importation of ceramic artefacts,3 and drew a picture of the commercial rela-
tionships of the island within the commercial system of the Mediterranean basin.
Concerning amphorae, the great majority also here were produced in North Africa.
Less frequent, but not inexistent, are the Palestinian (lra4 and lra5/6) and Aegean-
Eastern amphorae (lra1 and lra2). Up to now, studies have shown a long-range com-
mercial exchange network, and as part of this network, Pantelleria is an extremely
important source of information about the history of Mediterranean commerce dur-
ing Antiquity. The high frequency of finds is additional evidence of the fundamental
role of Pantelleria, which was an intermediate storage port set on trans-mediter-
ranean routes.
This is the summarized overview of the data about amphorae found in the west-
ern part of Sicily. Obviously, new research and analyses of the published data can clar-
ify whether the differences found are real or caused by different field methods and a
different depth of the investigation.
To solve this problem, and therefore to analyse microregions, systematic excava-
tion campaigns and precise publications and catalogues about the material are need-
ed. But the typological-quantitative approach is not enough to define the complicat-
ed economic and production phenomena, much less the social behaviour and the
ideologies of communities. Therefore, a historic-economic approach should be ap-

1 The piece of evidence appears even more strange when compared with the Island of Pantelleria.
There, investigations based on modern scientific-archaeological criterion have shown the absolute prepon-
derance of the North African amphorae (see infra).
2 «Carta Archeologica di Pantelleria» («Archaeological map of Pantelleria») project. The investigation is
the result of a collaboration between the University of Bologna and the Superintendence of Trapani.
3 Cattani - Tosi 1997; Massa 2002; Sami 2002.
roman sicily project: ceramics and trade 159
plied to the study of ceramics – an approach, which enhances the complexity and
diversity of these phenomena, rather than levels them out.
Carmela Franco

A case-study.
The amphorae Dressel 21 and the trade of the Sicilian
salted fish in the Early Empire
The production of salted fish and fish sauces in Sicily during Antiquity is a subject
which has been largely overlooked. The majority of the bibliography on this topic is
attributed to Gianfranco Purpura, who published a series of articles during the Eight-
The graduate thesis that I undertook in this subject enabled me to explore in
greater depth the question of the vessels used for transport of food products.1
In this section, I will not deal with the punic amphorae, but only Dressel 21, which
has been considered, since their first denomination by H. Dressel in 1899, as contain-
ers of fruit produced in Latium and Campania. Actually, the work that I have under-
taken on this type of amphora, enabled me to re-examine not only the contents (i.e.
salted fish), but also their Sicilian origin.2

Identification and names of vessels

During excavations of Pompeii, which was buried during autumn 79 ad,3 Robert
Schoene drew up a typological table of the amphorae most frequently discovered and
published it in cil iv.4
The type I will dealing with is his form iv. In the two typological tables published
by Albert Mau in 1909,5 the same types carry numbers xliii and xliv (Fig. 21).
Forty specimens discovered in Pompeii carried painted inscriptions by approxi-
mately eighty individuals. Nearly all of them are classified under type iv, and only a
few as type xliii-xliv according to Mau’s typological table. Our difficulty is being able
to distinguish the Sicilian product, because nearly all of the amphorae were classified
together under the same type.
We owe the true «baptism» of these amphorae to Heinrich Dressel. At the end of
the xix th century, he studied the painted inscriptions and the marks on the amphorae
dated to the second quarter of the ist century ad, which had been discovered during
the construction of a new district of Rome, the Castro Pretorio.6
In a table presenting the various types of exhumed amphorae, the specimen that
interests us is labelled number 15.7 Twenty years later, at the time of the edition of

1 E. Botte, Salaisons et sauces de poissons en Italie méridionale et en Sicile durant l’Antiquité, PhD under the
direction of J.-Y. Empereur, defended the 2nd of July 2008 in the University of Lyon 2.
2 For studies dedicated to Dressel 21 and 22 Amphorae, see Botte 2007; Botte (in press) and Botte -
Capelli (in press).
3 On the date of eruption: Stefani - Borgongino 2001-2002; Stefani 2006.
4 cil iv, s. v. Vasorum Formae. 5 cil iv, pl. ii-iii.
6 Dressel 1879, pp. 164-175 and 194-195 for the dating of the context.
7 Dressel 1879, pl. vii-viii.
160 daniele malfitana et alii

Fig. 21. Amphorae of types iv, xliii and xliv from Pompeii, according to Schoene (type iv)
and Mau’s drawings (types xliii and xliv) (cil iv, pl. i-iii).

cil xv, Dressel presents his general inventory of ceramics brought to light in Rome
with painted inscriptions and/or stamps.
He then published the final version of his amphorae typological table,1 in which
he assigned the type number 21. This is the designation by which they are today gen-
erally referred (Fig. 22).
Form 21 has a profile similar to a shell, and the absence of a neck is its principal
characteristic. The mouth is broad with a thick lip. A projection (approximately 1-2
cm) is marked directly under the lip. The handles are attached directly under the lip
and quickly join the body. The foot is thin and pointed.
After Dressel’s publication in 1899, research on this type of container was not very
intensive. N. Lamboglia joined together the types 212 and 22 under the type 21. He in-
cluded it in the category of the amphorae produced after the iiird century ad (for rea-
sons only known to him) in contradiction with the discoveries at Castro Pretorio and
Callender, in Roman Amphorae, which appeared in 1965,3 lumped the two types to-
gether, as Lamboglia. He referred to them as «form 4» without facing the question of
chronology and being limited to the painted inscriptions of Pompeii and Rome.

1 cil xv, 2, Amphorarum Formae. 2 Lamboglia 1955, fig. 2 and p. 243.

3 Callender 1965, pp. 13-14.
roman sicily project: ceramics and trade 161
It is necessary to await the study of F. Zevi in 19661
to obtain an analysis of the whole of Dressel’s typol-
ogy, but the article doesn’t bring to light any new ele-
ments on the type we are considering. Zevi accepts
the painted inscriptions and the previous interpreta-
tions by Dressel without criticism.
The issue of Dressel 21-22 is even more summarily
approached in the work of D. Peacock and D.
Williams,2 who arrange the type within their new
classification under «class 7», following Zevi’s article.
The recent article of C. Panella on the amphorae
produced in the West during the Roman imperial
time3 handles the problem of Dressel 21 and 22. How-
ever she presents only a brief summary of the ideas
and problems discussed in the past.

Painted inscriptions
In cil xv, H. Dressel listed eleven painted inscriptions
on amphorae of type 21.4 In Pompeii, only one am-
phora of this type preserved an inscription referring
to its contents (inventory no: 43091). The other in-
scriptions from Pompei are extracted from cil iv.
The five inscriptions read by Dressel (from no. 4787
to 4791) are classified in following way (Fig. 23):
Letters from A to G correspond to the classification
established by S. Martin-Kilcher for the amphora
inscriptions,5 but there is also another system used by R.
Etienne and Fr. Mayet.6 Fig. 22. Amphora of type 21
according to H. Dressel’s table.
According to this classification, the inscriptions may
be grouped as follows:
A A shortened word of two letters, which Dressel read as ce
B No inscription B has been found (until now) on Dressel 21.
C A number ranging between lxxviii- and xxcv-.
D A name.
E On the side, between the number C and the name D, another name is registered.
F Along the handle, a figure and/or a name sometimes appear (for type 1, only in the in-
scription no. 4788 in cil xv: ciix)
G A figure is also registered on the other side of the amphora, between the handles, often
under the projection characteristic of this type. This one is included between xxxi and

1 Zevi 1966, p. 222. 2 Peacock - Williams 1986, pp. 96-97.

3 Panella 2001, p. 194. 4 cil xv, nos. 4787-4793, 4795-4796, 4800-4801.
5 Martin-Kilcher 2002, pp. 344-346. 6 Etienne - Mayet 2002, p. 212.
162 daniele malfitana et alii

Fig. 23. Inscriptions 4787 to 4791 of cil xv.

According to Dressel, the word registered on the first line, ce , indicated a fruit, but
he did not know which. He proposed, without certainty, ce(rasa ) as cherries.1
I think instead that ce has to be read as cet , with the E and T bound. In this case,
the word cet should be translated as cetus , which in Latin means «large sea fish» and
also indicates a tuna of big size. To the specimens discovered in Rome and Pompeii,
it is possible to add a fragment with the inscription cet discovered in the agora of
Ephesus and whose petrographic analysis has revealed a probable Sicilian origin.2

1 Dressel 1879, p. 172. 2 I thank T. Bezeczky for the information.

roman sicily project: ceramics and trade 163
I propose to interpret the inscriptions C and G like weights in librae, as like the in-
scriptions on the amphorae Dressel 20. On these last, the inscription · indicates the
weight of the empty amphora and the inscription Á its contents (i.e. oil).1 In this case,
the inscription G would correspond to the tare, and the inscription C would corre-
spond to the weight of its contents (i.e. salted tuna).
Thus, the amphorae Dressel 21, when they are empty, according to inscription G,
weigh between 10,13,7 and 12,43 kg (respectively xxxi and xxxiix librae, that it is nec-
essary to multiply by the value of the libra, 0,327 kg), and their contents, according to
inscription C, between 25,67 and 27,96 kg (either lxxviii- and xxcv- librae). We have
joined together in the following table the various inscriptions C and G.

Nº Inscr. G Weight (kg) Inscr. C Weight (kg)

cil xv, 4787 xxxi? 10,137? lxxx- 26,323
cil xv, 4788 xxxii- 10,627 lxxxii- 26,977
cil xv, 4789 xxxiii 10,791 lxxviii- 25,67
cil xv, 4790 xxxiv 11,118 lxxxi 26,487
cil xv, 4791 xxxii? 10,464? lxxx- 26,323
cil xv, 4793 xxxiix? 12,43? xxcv- 27,96

In the process of weighing the amphorae at Pompeii, I became aware about the cor-
respondence between these inscriptions and the actual weight of the amphorae
which did not preserve painted inscription G. The following table presents the
weights of the amphorae I analyzed in Cumae and Pompeii.

Nº Inscription G Weight (kg) observations

Cumae - 19,2 Handle missing
14195 - 19,9
25435 - 17,7
26005 - 19,5
29294 - 18,9 Handle missing
43036 - 11,1
43167 - 18
26026 - 11,8
33186 - 13,8 Handle missing

The inscription D preserves the name of the exporter of the product contained in the
amphorae, which S. Martin Kilcher calls negotiator2 and which R. Etienne prefers to
call mercator.3 However, it is rather difficult to identify this person because we have
only one name available.
In the inscriptions of Rome and Pompeii, we find frequent names, some of which
can qualify as either nomen or cognomen (e.g. Salvius (cil xv, nº 4787) or Zoticio, a name
of Greek origin (cil xv nº 4789).

1 Liou - Gassend 1990, pp. 201-204 for tables gathering all the known inscriptions · and Á on Dressel 20
2 Martin-Kilcher 2002, p. 345. 3 Etienne - Mayet 2002, p. 214.
164 daniele malfitana et alii

It is possible to correlate Siculus. Lec F (cil xv nº 4793) to the inscription Favor. Lec. on
a type Dressel 22 amphora (cil xv, nº 4786). These inscriptions imply a corrections
between the two. The inscriptions D of Pompeii published in cil iv, because of in-
accuracy of typology, could belong as well to the Dressel type 22. We gathered them
in the summary table.
On the side, often between the inscriptions C and D, another name (E) is registered,
which remains enigmatic. It could be an intermediate merchant between the negotia-
tor and the consumer, or the purchaser/owner of the amphora. S. Martin-Kilcher in-
terpret the name as a representative of the negotiator who was in charge of the con-
trol of the goods before their transport.1
The names that appear in cil xv are in the form of cognomina isolated or of tria
nomina not developed: l.o.p . (nº 4787 and perhaps 4791), Secundio (nº 4788 but posi-
tioned at a place which could also correspond to the inscription D), sol (nº 4789 and
4790); Panh (nº 4791) yet the transcription is not ensured, and it is perhaps written
Panth, which could be of Greek origin).
The inscription F presents a number or a name. S. Martin Kilcher interprets this
group A the signature of a merchant and as the number of amphorae, which are
transported between the port of arrival of the containers and the consumption sites.
In opposition to this idea, R. Etienne and F. Mayet consider it the name of the pro-
ducer and the number of amphorae leaving the workshop of production.2 Within our
study, only one amphora preserved an inscription: «ciix» which is not sufficient to de-
termine which of the two assumptions is the best.
In short, these inscriptions refer to fish (A), probably tuna, its quantity in librae (C),
the names of negotiator/mercator and the producer (D-E), and the weight of the empty
amphora (G), also indicated in librae. This information is gathered in the table below.

Line Type 1
A cet 3
C lxxviii- ≤ x ≤ xxcv-
D Salvius; Zoticio; Ce[…]s; Siculus. Lec F
E l.o.p .; Secundio; sol ; Panh
F ciix
G xxxi ≤ x ≤ xxxiix

The origin of the container

The determination of an amphora’s area of production is carried by considering its
fabric, its distribution and possibly the known workshop of production.

1 Martin-Kilcher 2002, p. 345. 2 Etienne - Mayet 2002, pp. 213-214.

3 Are gathered in this column the inscriptions in cil xv: from no. 4787 to no. 4791 and no. 4793.
roman sicily project: ceramics and trade 165

Dressel 21 fabric
The fabric of the amphorae contains eolic quartz and angular limestone, as well as a
great quantity of micro-fossils.1
For some of the specimens, their orange color remains identical on the surface and
in their cross-section (Munsel Code: between 5 yr 7/2 and 5 yr 5/2). For others, the
surface appears grey in color (Munsel code: between 5 yr 4/1 and 5 yr 5/4), while the
interior is red (Munsel code: 10 r 5/8).
The petrographic analyses have already illustrated that at least part of the produc-
tion was located in western Sicily.2 Analysis carried out by C. Capelli on samples from
Cumae and Pompeii show that the major part of the production, if not all, is Sicilian.
The results of the archaeometric analyses were recently supported by the discov-
ery of a pottery workshop in Alcamo Marina, close to Castellamare del Golfo.3 This
workshop was discovered during excavations carried out since 2003 by the University
of Bologna.
The excavations showed that there was an area with potters active from the Au-
gustan period until the v th century. In one of the two excavated kilns, many fragments
of Dressel 21 amphorae were discovered. It is possible to establish that these amphorae
were produced there from the end of the ist century bc into the ist century ad.
The specimens discovered in the workshop of Alcamo present a fabric with pri-
marily angular quartz grains and microfossil limestones.4 Clay was extracted from
beds dated to the Pleistocen, known in the zone of Castellamare del Golfo to be rich
in quartz. The paste is characterized by the presence of round quartz coming from a
Flysch numidic.5 This last element is present in Tunisia and Sicily and explains the
similarity between fabrics from Sicily and North Africa.
Another workshop is without doubt located in Soluntum. We know the zone of San
Cristoforo was very active in the manufacture of amphorae from the vii th century bc.
However, in this same area, a concentration of amphorae fragments related to the
Dressel 21 type was discovered. In 1990 P. Lo Cascio published the finding, but in his
article he did not recognize the amphora type, relating them instead to a late pro-
The site, a hundred meters from the sea, is set between the railway and the mod-
ern road (ss 113), approximately one kilometer from the tonnara of Soluntus. A visit
to the area in 2005 ensured us that there were fragments belonging to this type of am-
phora, but we could not carry the investigation further because the owner of the

1 The analyses were carried out by C. Capelli, for the results see Botte - Capelli (in press).
2 Denaro 1995, p. 199; Alaimo et alii 1997, p. 60.
3 For the results of studies on this atelier and its production, see: Giorgetti - Gonzalez Muro - Bot-
te 2006, pp. 505-516; Gonzalez Muro 2006.
4 The petrographic analyses were carried out by C. Capelli, for the first results: Capelli - Piazza 2006,
pp. 171-173 and pl. v-vi.
5 Flysch is a type of formation consisted in a monotonous repetition of sequences of metric and deca-
metric thickness. They begin at the base by level with big grain and finish at the top by levels with fine grain.
Typically a flysch consisted in an alternation of sandstone benches, finishing to the top with argillaceous
6 Lo Cascio 1990, pp. 33-39, and particularly pp. 35-38 for the amphorae, which concern us.
166 daniele malfitana et alii
property, in spite of an authorization of the Archaeological Superintendence of Paler-
mo, did not permit us to collect them.1

Chronology of the production and diffusion area

The oldest specimen comes from La Longarina in Ostia, but the publication by A.
Hesnard did not present any drawing. The context, a drain made up of two lines of
amphorae laid out horizontally, was dated to the first years of the ist century ad.2
It is also necessary to mention the specimen found in an underfloor space discov-
ered under the «rue de la Favorite» in Lyon, in a context from the end of the Augus-
tan period.3 The latest specimens are those from Pompeii and Cumae (Flaviaen dump
prior to 95 ad). A rim fragment discovered in Settefinestre in the layers dated between
Trajan and Antonine periods seems to be residual.4
The published specimens show a primarily diffusion towards the western Mediter-
ranean, with occasional discoveries in the east. Sicily, more precisely the northwest-
ern region of the island, is the zone where amphorae of type Dressel 21 are most fre-
quent. In the second place, we find them in some cities of peninsular Italy, including
Pompeii, Cumae, Ostia, Rome, Settefinestre and Luni.
In Gaul several specimens are also known at Fréjus and Lyon. Specimens discov-
ered at Alexandria, Ephesus, Jerusalem and Bodrum in Turkey (an underwater dis-
covery) show that the distribution has also affected the eastern basin of the Mediter-
ranean (Fig. 24)
Lastly, it is necessary to underline the recent discovery of a wreck in Capri, of
which the cargo was made up entirely of Dressel 21 amphorae. It was the subject of
a prospection campaign using an underwater robot. The visible dimensions of the
ship are 16 m in length and 8 m wide, lie at a depth of 130 m. Three levels of amphorae
are visible, but none of them, due to technical malfunction of the robot, could be
bought up to the surface.

Proposal for a new typology

In the new typology of Dressel 21-22 that I have proposed, Dressel 21 correspond to
type 1, which I divided into two variants based on the dimension of the vessel, nar-
rower for type 1a and more pot-bellied for type 1b (Fig. 25)
The average height of amphorae of type 1a is 88 cm, with a range between 84.5 cm
and 94 cm. The maximum diameter of the belly measures approximately 22 cm. The
belly is marked by of a groave, placed on average at 1/5 of its height (i.e. approxi-
mately 16-18 cm from the mouth).
The maximum capacity of the amphorae is between 15 and 18 liters for the major-
ity of the measured specimens found at Cumae and Pompeii. There is not a separa-
tion between the belly and the mouth of the amphora. Only the above mentioned
can be used as a reference point. The wall is on average 1 cm thick.

1 The fragments we could see were found below the ground, along the road (ss 113). The ground, re-
cently cleaned by rain, contained many fragments, always related to the type Dressel 21.
2 Hesnard 1980, p. 141. 3 Desbat et alii 1986, p. 67.
4 Volpe - Cambi 1985, pp. 75-76 and pl. 20.12.
roman sicily project: ceramics and trade 167

Fig. 24. Distribution area of Dressel 21.

168 daniele malfitana et alii
The external diameter, taken at the
lip, measures between 16 and 17.5 cm.,
while the internal diameter measures
on average 12 cm., with a range be-
tween 11.5 and 13 cm.
The lip is 2 cm. thick sometimes with
a rolled rim. It measures between 1.5
and 2.3 cm. in height. Approximately 1
cm. under the lip, the potter marked a
projection, which does not exceed 0.5
cm. in height. The handles have an al-
mond-shaped section and a central vein
on their outside. They are 11 to 13 cm.
high, attach under (and sometimes on)
the above mentioned projection, and
they join the belly at the level of the fur-
row. The bottom of the 1a type ampho-
ra finishes at a point; this one is full, and
its height varies between 9 and 12 cm.
Its profile is concave. The end of the
point is widened, and slightly concave
on the lower face.
The average height of the amphorae
Fig. 25. Variantes 1a and 1b of our new typology of type 1b the is 88 cm., with a range
of the Dressel amphorae 21. between 86 cm. for the smallest speci-
mens and 92 cm. for the largest. The
maximum diameter of the belly meas-
ures approximately 26 cm. The characteristic groove, which probably marks the lim-
it of the handles, is placed at approximately 18-19 cm. from the mouth. The maximum
capacity of the amphorae is about 28 litres.
The external diameter measures between 19 and 20.5 cm., while the internal di-
ameter measures on average 15 to 17 cm. The lip has an average thickness of 2 cm. Its
height is between 1.7 and 2.5 cm. As on the amphorae of the type 1a, a ridge is marked
approximately 1 cm under the lip. The handles are almond-shaped in section, and their
external face is marked by a central rib. They are attached directly under the projec-
tion, sometimes rise above this and are stuck to the belly at the level of the groove.
Their length varies between 14.4 and 15.5 cm.
The bases of the 1b type amphorae are small in size. They are solid and the aver-
age height is approximately 5 cm. The profile of the toe is concave, and its lower face
is slightly convex.

The notions we have had for more than one hundred years about the trade of fruits
in Latium and Campania within Dressel 21-22 amphorae has to be completely rewrit-
ten. Dressel 21 amphorae are actually containers produced in Sicily and intended for
the transport of salted fish, primarily tuna.
roman sicily project: ceramics and trade 169

Fig. 26. Illustration of the re-employment of amphorae Dressel 21 in drains of Pompeii.

The reason for the errors is a general lack of interest in the subject until now.
Additions to this, it is important to comment on the frequent re-use of these am-
phorae as pipes. In fact, it is common to find examples in the drains of Pompeii (Fig.
26). This resuse was, indeed, quite simple as it was only necessary to cut off the lower
part in order to obtain an object ready for re-employment (e.g. in a latrine of Pompeii)
(Fig. 27).
Considering these data, it is still too early to evaluate the economic role of the Si-
cilian salted fish industry during the Early Empire within the broader Mediterranean
trade. However, in the future, it is a point that will be impossible to neglect, and it will
be necessary to consider the Dressel 21 as Sicilian amphorae intended for transport of
tuna products.
Emmanuel Botte
170 daniele malfitana et alii

Preliminary conclusions
and future aims
To draw conclusions from this first data
presentation – even if they are not ana-
lytical – allows us most importantly to
delineate the next steps of our work. In
the next phases, besides the data about
the amphorae preliminarily presented
here, we shall information add about
the tablewares.
This work is currently being under-
taken by our team of researchers and its
results will provide us with a better un-
derstanding of the social and economic
dynamics of Sicily during the Roman
period, and equally importantly, it will
make the computerized database avail-
able to the entire scientific community.
This database will be extremely useful
Fig. 27. Amphora Dressel 21 employed as latrine
in Pompei (Reg. i, Ins. 14, 2).
to anyone working on the political, so-
cial and economic history of Sicily
(from various points of view), but start-
ing from the material culture evidence.
By means of the initial thematic map (presented here for the first time) and an up-
dated (2007) bibliography, it is possible to draw certain preliminary observations. Our
initial research confirms an image of Sicily as an active and major island receiving sig-
nificant amounts of goods from all over the Mediterranean basin.
The diffusion of amphorae affects mainly the coastal parts of Sicily. As regards in-
land settlements, most of which were located along river routes that facilitated trans-
fer of goods. Just to mention some particular cases, the Arena River, for istance, linked
the coast and inland places, such as Salemi, Timpone Rasta and Logonuovo; the Belice
River used to connect Campobello di Mazara, Monte Vago and Entella; the Platani
river linked the hinterland of Agrigentum. The Irmino River, in western Sicily, was a
fundamental transport link for the big agricultural sites in the area of Ragusa (Mod-
ica, Ispica and Ragusa). The inland sites of Piazza Armerina and Sophiana are excep-
tions. Both Villa del Casale and the settlement of Sophiana, apart from being close to
the river Gela, were also along the road that connected Catina and Gela. Sophiana, for
a brief period, was a statio of this long itinerary.
In the second phase of this project, when data about fine tablewares will also be-
came available, other maps will be added to this first thematic map (Map i), as well
as some specific gis maps. They will help us to understand attitudes, diversities and
analogies of the supply systems of the Sicilian market over a specific chronological
period. To simplify the analysis of the data, eastern and western Sicily will be analysed
separately, over a chronological period composed of four phases (Late Hellenistic:
roman sicily project: ceramics and trade 171
200-30 bc; early Imperial: 30-100 ad; middle Imperial: 100-300 ad; late Imperial: 300-
450-475 ad; early Byzantine: 450/475-640-650 ad).
Without going into details, even before a specific thematic map has been defined,
the amphorae are mostly found on the Aeolian Islands and on the Ionian Coast –
more precisely in the ports of Messana, Catina, Syracusae and along the Southern coast
of Sicily (around Punta Secca). During the Middle Imperial period there was a slight
expansion towards the northern coast, but the situation on the southeastern coast
seems to have remained the same. In the Late Roman period everything seems to be
more complex: particularly in the area between Ragusa and Gela, the sites where am-
phorae were found are in much higher frequency. This phenomenon has to be con-
sidered carefully, and the direct relationship with Africa seems to have played a deci-
sive role. It is also important to note that the rate of publication of excavation
material is critical to the expansion of this project.

In western Sicily, the presence of amphorae is quite widespread, both on the coasts
and inland. In contrast to what seems to be happening in eastern Sicily, the western
Sicilian villages do not seem to revolve around bigger and more important centres.
Instead, they maintain a dynamic commercial independence. During the late Roman
period there was a big decrease in the distribution of amphorae with a limited pres-
ence at mainly coastal sites. During the Late Roman and Early Byzantine periods, the
inland sites appear to be again active, and important new sites, such as Piazza Arme-
rina and Sophiana, were founded.
In analysing all of Sicily, we can see that in eastern regions there were fewer small
settlements the economies of which revolved around the important centres, at least
until the iv th century ad. It is their importance as ports and, consequently, their role
as gathering places that makes these sites a necessary focal point for commercial dis-
tribution. Towns, such as Messana, Catina and Syracusae, boast ancient and well-testi-
fied histories as ports, and throughout the Roman period they continued to maintain
their previous roles as merchant cities. In western Sicily this concentration is not pres-
ent. In fact, amphorae are spread throughout this region suggesting a fragmentation
of settlements and their more elaborate commercial dynamics.
Starting from the iv th century onwards, the concentration around the most im-
portant towns seems to have been abandoned in favour of a more capillary occupa-
tion of the area. This tendency is also reflected in the distribution of amphorae, which
seems to cover more sites. This is especially the case in the area between Gela, Sophi-
ana and Piazza Armerina, as these sites are part of the route from central Sicily to the
harbour area of Catina. All this shows that the inland sites and their resources partic-
ipated more actively in wide-ranging commerce; in other words, they were directly
interested not only in the production, but also in the exchange of people, goods and,
of course, ideas.
I think that in the future it will be useful to carry out study of the production sites
currently known in Sicily, together with the parallel study of ceramics and amphorae
distribution. It is also necessary to focus on the social organisation analysis of the
domini and officiatores already known, but little studied. In addition, it is important to
pursue the study of the onomastics and toponymy of sites and the distribution areas
in relation to Roman ceramic studies. The beginning of a vast process of archaeo-
172 daniele malfitana et alii
metric analysis is invaluable as it has enabled to identify what can surely be consid-
ered ‘Sicilian’ and what is not ‘Sicilian’.1
Daniele Malfitana

1 On this topic, see the suggestions from a historical point of view by Perkins 2007, pp. 49-51.
roman sicily project: ceramics and trade 173

Map i.
An update to the map of ancient Sicily of the Barrington Atlas .
The new sites after the start of the « Roman Sicily Project »
Giovanni Fragalà

The realization of an integrated system of thematic and gis maps that will allow a fast visu-
alization of the many information collected, historical as well as archaeological has also been
initiated in parallel to the activity of collection and acquisitions of the data.1
The main objective is to elaborate a series of thematic maps of Sicily during the Roman pe-
riod that will be constantly updated. In parallel it will visualise the data, the information about
the various typologies of vessels and amphorae, and about the contexts of province from
which the data come.
To achieve this aim, it seemed more opportune to rearrange the already existing instrument
of «Barrington Atlas of the Greek and Roman world»,2 than to create a new map, as this is unan-
imously accepted by the scientific community as an indispensable and complete cartographi-
cal instrument, useful for understanding the historical, geographic and archaeological organ-
ization of the ancient world.3

Map 47 of the Atlas, edited by R. J. A. Wilson,4 allows to visualize data, published and unpub-
lished, collected during many years he engaged in studies of Roman Sicily.5 Therefore, start-
ing from this map, and using the same symbols, we are inserting new data (and, therefore, new
sites) derived from a complex bibliographic research. We have marked in yellow the new sites
where archaeologists have found Roman pottery or amphorae, that will be added to a data-
base. The first data have been presented in the section of the article edited by C. Franco and
A. L. Palazzo (see infra).
The map, presented here for the first time,6 constitutes an instrument of great significance
and absolute innovation. Allows us to visualize the importance of the new data and we have
already begun to realize specific thematic maps that will allow us to explore in greater depth
the information. Moreover, the new maps will allow us to determine the specificity of every
city observed from the point of view of the presence of ceramics and amphorae through a
chronological approach.
The last phase previews thematic papers that will help us to define the chronological de-
velopment of each archaeological evidence. It highlights, using various colours and the same
symbols adopted by the Barrington Atlas and allows us to layer, one on top of the other (also
usable in the web version), many papers which will make it easy to read “in transparency” for-

1 A part from the map edited in this article, all the other thematic maps and gis maps will be published
in the monographic work which is being undertaken at present by D. Malfitana as mentioned at the be-
ginning of this article.
2 Barrington Atlas of the Greek and Roman World, ed. R. J. A. Talbert, Princeton, 2000.
3 See S. Alcock, H. W. Dey, G. Parker, Sitting down with the Barrington Atlas, «Journal of Roman Ar-
chaeology», 14, 2001, pp. 451-461. 4 Barrington Atlas of the Greek and Roman World, pp. 709-735.
5 Map 47 can rely on a rich series of information that Wilson has collected in many years of study on
the Roman Sicily. A large part of this information is taken from Wilson 1990 the remainder is yet unpub-
lished. 6 Map 47 has been published to scale 1.500.000 in The Barrington Atlas.
174 daniele malfitana et alii
mat and in total image format, the chronological development of a specific context or areal
complex, from the Late Hellenistic to Late Roman period.
Therefore it will be also possible to locate the main concentrations of ceramics and am-
phorae that will in turn contribute to the chronology. New sites and settlements are shown in
yellow colour, as are the ones in the Barrington Atlas.1 The symbols used for indicating the ty-
pology of the settlements (small farm, villae, thermal bath etc.) are the same used by the Bar-
rington Atlas, in order to facilitate the reading of the map.
The majority of the archaeological research carried out in the latter years are focused on
the study of rural areas or on small quarters (Contrade), usually connected to modern city cen-
tres. In this case, when we are unable to precisely locate the «contrade» in the Map, we have
chosen to connect the area to the closest city centre.

Table 1.
General overview of transport amphorae
in Roman Sicily mentioned in the text
Carmela Franco

This table aims at showing the main transport amphorae types attested in Sicily in the Roman
period and cited in the text. However, it excludes any quantitative data, that will be presented
in a future volume as mentioned in the foreword. The table is divided into three columns rep-
resenting form, source and places respectively.
Under the column «Form» is inserted the reference to the typological abbreviations of the
amphorae that are currently used, according to the most updated typologies. I have tried,
where it is possible, to conform all the denominations, creating a “common language” and an
easier terminology in order to avoid the often confusing amphorae name systems.2
Under the column «Source» is inserted the region of production of a specific amphora type
as known and updated to 2007. In some cases the source of amphorae has already been cited
by the editors, for example after the discovery of kilns (i. e. the case of Alcamo Marina in West-
ern Sicily or Santa Venera al Pozzo, Acium, in Eastern Sicily).
Under the column «Place» I have listed the sites in which a specific amphora type has been
discovered, in relation to the various cases cited in text (see supra, the sections by C. Franco
and A. L. Palazzo). The sites are indicated with the modern and ancient name where possible,
followed, between brackets, with a reference to the updated Sicily Map I published here.

1 Map i also shows evidence of settlements not mentioned in the text, because the data collected is lim-
ited. However they have been included in order to give to the reader more in-depth and updated picture of
Roman pottery in Sicily. The settlements are: San Biagio (Terme Vigliatore), Acate, Palma di Montechiaro,
Cattolica Eraclea, Sambuca di Sicilia, Montevago, Monte Pellegrino (Heirkte Mons), Isola delle Femmine,
Punta Raisi, Punta Molinazzo, Terrasini, Menfi, Sant’Agata di Campobello di Mazara, Mazara, Timpone
Rasta, Logonovo, Eryx.
2 Some of amphorae names are, in fact, ‘temporary’, because usually coined during excavations and
published in books and journals, that are often difficult to locate even for the specialists.
Form Source Place
Lipara (Map i, F2); Gazzi, Ganzirri and Pistu-
African i Northern Africa: mainly Tunisia
nina (Map i, H2); Agrigentum (Map i, C4)
Lipara (Map i, F2); area between Agnone and
African ii Northern Africa: mainly Tunisia Castelluccio (Map i, G4); Carabollace (Map i,
C4); Agrigentum (Map i, C4)
Cephaloedium (Map i, E2); Carabollace (Map i,
Almagro 50 Portugal and Spain
Almagro 51 A-B Portugal (Lusitania) and Spain (Baetica) Agrigentum (Map i, C4)
Almagro 51 C Portugal (Lusitania) and Spain (Baetica) Agrigentum (Map i, C4)
Amphoras similar to “Carminiello type 17”, Eastern Sicily: Capo d’Orlando (statio Agathyrnum (Map i, F2); Calactae (Map i, E2);
or “cb2 type” Agathyrnum); Caronia (Calactae), Furnari. Furnari (Map i, G2)
Cretan 1 Crete Lipara (Map i, F2)
Dressel 1 Sicily Segesta (Map i, B3)
Tyrrhenian coastal area of Italy from
Dressel 1B Agrigentum (Map i, C4)
Etruria to Campania.
Dressel 2-4 Italy Philosophiana (Map i, E4)
roman sicily project: ceramics and trade

Imitation of Dressel 2-4 type (big and small

Sicily: Naxos Naxos (Map i, G3)
Dressel 7/11 Spain Lipara (Map i, F2)
Dressel 9 Spain Agrigentum (Map i, C4)
Dressel 20 Spain Agrigentum (Map i, C4)

Form Source Place

Villa di Terre Bianche (Map i, D3), Segesta
Dressel 21-22 Western Sicily (Segesta?)
(Map i, B3)
Dressel 21-22: Alcamo A and B types Western Sicily: Alcamo Marina Alcamo Marina-quarter Foggia (Map i, B2)
Dressel 35 similis Eastern Sicily: Caronia (Calactae) Calactae (Map i, E2)
Gauloises 4 France Lipara (Map i, F2)
Gauloises (similis) Eastern Sicily: Naxos Naxos (Map i, G3)
Northern Africa: Tunisia (Northern
Hammamet iii Carabollace (Map i, C4)
Hammamet Gulf )
Syracusae (underwater discoveries); Marzame-
Kapitaen i Eastern Mediterranean: the Aegean
mi’s wreck a, b, d f, k, j (Map i, G5)
Scifì-Forza d’Agrò (Map i, G3); Marina di
Itala-Monte Scuderi (Map i, G2); S. Alessio -
Eastern Mediterranean: the Aegean,
Kapitaen ii Statio Palmae (Map i, G3); Syracusae (under-
Samos and the region around Ephesus.
water discoveries), Marzamemi’s wreck a, b,
d f, k, j (Map i, G5)
daniele malfitana et alii

Keay viii b Northern Africa: Southern Byzacena Carabollace (Map i, C4)

«Villa di Terre Bianche» (Map i, D3); Aquae
Segestanae (Map i, B3); Mansio ad Olivam (Map
Keay xxv Northern Africa i, B3); Verdura and Carabollace (Map i, C4);
Montallegro-Campanaio (Map i, C4); Agrigen-
tum (Map i, C4)
Keay xxxiii Northen Africa: Tunisia Montallegro-Campanaio (Map i, C4)
Keay xxxiv Northen Africa: Byzacena (?) Agrigentum (Map i, C4)
Form Source Place
Villa di Terre Bianche» (Map i, D3); Thermae
Himeraeae (Map i, D3); Aquae Segestanae (Map
Keay xxxv Northern Africa: mainly Nabeul (Zeugitana) i, B3); Mansio ad Olivam (Map i, B3); Verdura
and Carabollace (Map i, C4); Montallegro-
Campanaio (Map i, C4)
Northern Africa: Tunisia (North-Western Aquae Segestanae (Map i, B3); Mansio ad Olivam
Keay xxxvi
region?) (Map i, B3)
Keay xlii Northern Africa: North Western Tunisia? Agrigentum (Map i, C4)
Lipara (Map i, F1); Gazzi, Ganzirri and Pistu-
nina (Map i, H2); Scifì-Forza d’Agrò (Map i,
G3); Marina di Itala - Monte Scuderi (Map i,
Keay lii Eastern Sicily: Naxos
G2); S. Alessio-Statio Palmae (Map i, G3); Nax-
os (Map i, G3); Aquae Segestanae (Map i, B3);
Mansio ad Olivam (Map i, B3)
Eastern Sicily: Santa Venera al Pozzo - statio
Benghazi mr1 Statio Acium (Map i, G3)
Keay lii Southern Calabria Carabollace (Map i, C4)
Keay lii Not specified by the editors Roman villa in Borgellusa (Map i, G5)
roman sicily project: ceramics and trade

Keay lv Northern Africa: mainly Nabeul (Zeugitana) Carabollace (Map i, C4)

Keay lxi Northern Africa: Sahel region of Tunisia Rocchicella near Menai (Map i, F4)
Area connected to Megara’s statio (Map i,
G4), Villa di Terre Bianche (Map i, D3), Ther-
Keay lxii Northern Africa: Byzacena and Zeugitana
mae Himeraeae, Carabollace (Map i, C4); Philo-
sophiana (Map i, E4)

Form Source Place

Keay lxiv Northern Africa Villa di Terre Bianche (Map i, D3)
Knossos 4/5 Eastern Mediterranean Gazzi, Ganzirri and Pistunina (Map i, H2)
Kuzmanov 20 Black sea - Aegean area Cephaloedium (Map i, E2)
Gazzi, Ganzirri and Pistunina (Map i, H2); area
between Agnone and Castelluccio (Map i, G4),
Syracusae (underwater discoveries), Vendicari
(Map i, G5), Castellazzo della Marza (Map i,
lra1 Eastern Mediterranean: Cilicia and Cyprus
F5), Caucana (Map i, F5), quarters of Verdura
and Carabollace (Map i, C4); Montallegro-quar-
ter campanaio (Map i, C4), Cossyra (Pantelleria:
Map i, A4); Agrigentum (Map i, C4)
Eastern Sicily: Santa Venera al Pozzo - statio
Imitation of lra1 and variants Statio Acium (Map i, G3)
Imitation of lra1 Western Sicily? Montallegro-Campanaio (Map i, C4)
Scifì-Forza d’Agrò (Map i, G3); Marina di Ita-
daniele malfitana et alii

la-Monte Scuderi (Map i, G2); S. Alessio-Sta-

tio Palmae (Map i, G3); area between Agnone
and Castelluccio (Map i, G4), Area connected
lra2 Greece (Argolid), Chios and Cnidos
to Megara’s statio (Map i, G4), Syracusae (un-
derwater discoveries), quarters of Verdura
and Carabollace (Map i, C4); Agrigentum (Map
i, C4); Cossyra (Pantelleria: Map i, A4)
Eastern Mediterranean: Western Asia Minor, Area between Agnone and Castelluccio (Map
lra3 including Ephesus, the Meander Valley, Miletos i, G4), Cephaloedium (Map i, E2), Carabollace
and Pergamon (Map i, C4)
Form Source Place

Scifì-Forza d’Agrò (Map i, G3); Marina di Ita-

Coastal areas of Asia Minor, including the
Agorà F 65-F 66 “contenitori monoansati” la-Monte Scuderi (Map i, G2); S. Alessio-Sta-
region of Ephesus
tio Palmae (Map i, G3)

Area between Agnone and Castelluccio (Map

lra4 Eastern Mediterranean: Palestine-Gaza i, G4), Thermae Himeraeae, Cossyra (Map i, A4)
Agrigentum (Map i, C4)
Palestine and Northern Egypt (from the
lra5 Cossyra (Pantelleria: Map i, A4)
late fifth century ad)
Area between Agnone and Castelluccio (Map
lra6 Eastern Mediterranean: probably Palestine
i, G4), Cossyra (Pantelleria: Map i, A4)
Vendicari (Map i, G5), Castellazzo della
lra7 Northern Africa: Egypt
Marza (Map i, F5), Caucana (Map i, F5)
Area between Agnone and Castelluccio (Map
lra10 Eastern Mediterranean
i, G4)
Mid Roman Amphora 1 Eastern Sicily: Naxos Naxos (Map i, G3)
Richborough 527 Aeolian Islands: Lipara Lipara (Map i, F1)
“S. Alessio type” and variants Eastern Sicily: Naxos Naxos (Map i, G3); S. Alessio wreck
roman sicily project: ceramics and trade

Vendicari (Map i, G5), Castellazzo della

“Samos cistern type” Greek Island (Samos) and Western Asia Minor
Marza (Map i, F5), Caucana (Map i, F5)
Area between Agnone and Castelluccio (Map
i, G4), Syracusae (Map i, G4), (Sortino, C.da
Spatheia Northern Africa
Giarranauti: Map i, G4), Cephaloedium (Map
i, E2), Thermae Himeraeae (Termini Imerese:

Form Source Place

Map i, D3), Aquae Segestanae (Map i, B3), Man-
Spatheia Northern Africa sio ad Olivam (Map i, B3), Philosophiana (Map
i, E4), Agrigentum (Map i, C4)
“Spello type” Eastern Sicily: Naxos Naxos (Map i, G3)

Scifì - Forza d’Agrò (Map i, G3); Marina di Ita-

“Spinella type” Eastern Sicily: Naxos la - Monte Scuderi (Map i, G2); S. Alessio - Sta-
tio Palmae (Map i, G3)
Thermae Himeraeae (Termini Imerese: Map i,
“Termini Imerese 151-354” type Northern Sicily: Termini Imerese
D3); Agrigentum (Map i, C4)
Northern Sicily: Capo d’Orlando (statio
Similar to “Termini Imerese 151-354” Type Agathyrnum (Map i, F2); Lipara (Map i, F1)
Gazzi, Ganzirri and Pistunina (Map i, H2);
Scifì-Forza d’Agrò (Map i, G3); Marina di Ita-
Tripolitanian ii Northern Africa: Libya (Tripolitania)
la-Monte Scuderi (Map i, G2); S. Alessio-Sta-
tio Palmae (Map i, G3)
daniele malfitana et alii

Gazzi, Ganzirri and Pistunina (Map i, H2);

Northern Africa: Western Libya and Scifì-Forza d’Agrò (Map i, G3); Marina di Itala-
Tripolitanian iii
South-eastern Tunisia (Tripolitania) Monte Scuderi (Map i, G2); S. Alessio - Statio
Palmae (Map i, G3); Carabollace (Map i, C4)
Marzamemi’s wreck A, B, D F, K, J: (Map i,
G5); Vendicari (Map i, G5), Castellazzo della
African cylindrical amphorae of
Northen Africa Marza ((Map i, G5), Caucana (Map i, F5),
undetermined typology
Thermae Himeraeae (Map i, D3); Cossyra (Pan-
telleria: Map i, A4)
Anfora with “ansa a profilo a orecchia” Central Sicily? Mazzarino-quarter of Minnelli (Map i, E4)
roman sicily project: ceramics and trade 181

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Atti del Convegno Internazionale di studi (Ragusa-Catania, 3-5 aprile 2003), ed. F. P. Rizzo, Pisa-
Roma, 2005, pp. 223-238.
Zevi 1966 = F. Zevi, Appunti sulle anfore romane. La tavola tipologica del Dressel, «Archeologia
Classica», xviii, 1966, pp. 208-247.

The paper presents an first general overview and some preliminary considerations of the
«Roman Sicily Project», an ongoing multidisciplinary research project led by the Italian Nation-
al Research Council. Its main objective is to concentrate on the economic trends evident from
the production and importation of transport amphorae (in a first stage) found in Roman Sici-
ly. Its other aim is to establish the degree to which local and imported ceramics reflect the
broader, complex phenomena of long-distance trade within the Mediterranean basin. From
this first overview starts to emerge some regional economic patterns and concepts of micro
and macroeconomic aspects which existed in the context of the Sicilian province. The gener-
al background is the wider context of geopolitical and social context to which will be added a
rich series of data. This data will be available as soon on the website of the project
192 daniele malfitana et alii

Il contributo presenta un primo inquadramento ed alcune preliminari considerazioni di un

progetto di ricerca multidisciplinare avviato dal Consiglio Nazionale delle Ricerche. Esso ha
l’obiettivo di indagare gli aspetti economici ed il fenomeno di produzione e importazione di
anfore da trasporto ritrovate nella Sicilia romana. A questo obiettivo generale si affianca poi
una prima serie di riflessioni sul fenomeno del commercio a lunga distanza che univa la Sici-
lia ad altre realtà del Mediterraneo. Cominciano così a delinearsi primi modelli di economia
regionale che contraddistingue la realtà isolana. Tutte queste osservazioni verranno poi
collocate in un più ampio contesto geopolitico e sociale costruito su una infinità di dati che
verranno presto inseriti all’interno del sito web del progetto (
attualmente in via di costruzione.
Facta 2 2008:Piantina 17/02/09 12:43 Pagina 1
Facta 2 2008:Piantina 17/02/09 12:43 Pagina 2

List of sites Map key

Acate E4 Mazzarino E4
Acium G3 Megara Hyblaia G4
Ad Olivam B3 Menai F4
Agathyrnum F2 Menfi B3
Agnone G4 Messana H2
Akragas/Agrigentum C4 Milena D4
Alcamo Marina B2 Montagna della Borrania B3
Annunziata di Mascali G3 Montevago C3
Aquae Lordes C4 Mutyce F5
Aquae Segestane B3 Mylae G2
Bagnoli di S. Gregorio F2 Naro D4
Borgellusa di Avola G5 Naxos G3
Buonfornello D3 Pachino G5
Caddeddi G5 Palma di Montechiaro D4
Calactae E2 Pan(h)ormus C2
Calatabiano G3 Philosophiana E4
Camarina E5 Piazza Armerina E4
Campanaio di Montallegro C4 Pistunina H2
Capo Graziano F1 Ponte Bagni B3
Capo Mulini G3 Portus Pachyni G5
Carabollace c.da C4 Priolo Gargallo G4
Castagna C4 Punta Castelluzzo G4
Castellazzo della Marza F5 Punta Molinazzo C2
Cattolica Eraclea C4 Punta Raisi C2
Caucana F5 Punta Secca F5
Cava d’Ispica F5 S. Agata di Campobello di Mazara B3
Cephaloedium E2 S. Alessio G3
Cignana D4 S. Marco G5
Cittadella G5 S. Teresa di Longarini G4
Cossyra A4 S. Venera al Pozzo G3
Drepanum A2 Sambuca di Sicilia C3
Entella C3 San Biagio G2
Eryx B2 Saraceno di Favara D4
Falconara di Noto G5 Scifì G3
Forza d’Agrò G3 Segesta B3
Furnari G2 Selinus B3
Gazzi H2 Soluntum D2
Gela E4 Sortino G4
Halicyae B3 Syracusae G4
Haluntium F2 Tauromenium G3
Heirkte? Mons C2 Terrasini C2
Heraclea Minoa C4 Thermae Himeraeae D3
Himera D3 Thermae Selinutinae C3
Hybla Heraia F5 Timpone Rasta B3
Ietas C3 Traiectus H2
Isola delle Femmine C2 Vendicari G5
Katane/Catina G3 Verdura c.da C4
Lilybeum A3
Lipara F2
Logonuovo B3
Marina d’Itala G2
Marzamemi G5
Mazara B3
composto in car attere dante monotype dalla
accademia editoriale, pisa · roma.
stampato e rilegato nella
tipo gr afia di agnano, agnano pisano (pisa).

Marzo 2009
(cz 2 · fg 21)