Characterising terra nigra foot-vessels of the Late Roman period (4th-5th century) from Germany, the Netherlands and Belgium

Vince Van Thienen, Clarissa Agricola, Ole Stilborg, S. Heeren

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Abstract

In the northern frontier region of the Roman Empire and Germania Magna, grey to black wheel-Thrown pottery is frequently encountered on Late Roman sites (4th and 5lh centuries). Despite the commonality of the foot-vessels of this Late Roman Terra Nigra group, not much is known about their production, consumption or socio-cultural meaning. After a brief overview of the research history, this study presents the first interregional and comprehensive characterisation of this ceramic group by focussing on the similarities in fabric, chemical and mineralogical properties of the Chenet 342 and Gellep 273/274 type foot-vessels from Germany, the Netherlands and Belgium. The combination of portable XRF and ceramic petrography demonstrated the existence of at least two distinct major production areas in Westphalia and the Low Countries, alongside numerous smaller production workshops. Because of the interregional scale of this study, new ideas are proposed considering the origin, function and symbolic value of these Late Roman foot-vessels in light of the increasing hybridisation of societies along both sides of the Lower Rhine frontier.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)87-106
Number of pages20
JournalArchäologisches Korrespondenzblatt
Volume47
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - Mar 2017

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