Study Group for Roman Pottery

Roman Pottery Bibliography

Departments of France: page 13b

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13 Bouches-du-Rhône continued:
Journal of Roman Pottery Studies  Vol 5, 1992 page 153
1238  Sciallano, M & Sibella, P, Amphores: comment les identifier, Edisud, Aix-en-Provence, 1991.
syn/mar/8th BC-early 7th AD/typ
Before examining this volume, one might be tempted to ask, do we really need another general book on Roman amphorae? Has the ground not been fully covered by Peacock & Williams 1986 (JRPS 2, entry no. 368) and Laubenheimer 1990 (JRPS 4, entry no. 976), not to mention their many predecessors? Well, the answer is clearly an emphatic no to both questions, since the heart of this book is a more complete typology of amphorae than ever previously assembled, and yet the complete absence of any discussion of amphora fabrics shows that this is also not yet the definitive volume. The reason for the omission of fabric descriptions is almost certainly due to the nature of the remarkable collection of amphorae upon which the core of the typology is based: this is the collection at the recently-opened Musée d'Amphores at Istres, whose contents come almost entirely from excavations of shipwrecks in the Golfe de Fos and the mouth of the Rhône; whole vessels are often not very conducive to fabric analyses. The region was visited by the Greeks as early as the 8th century BC, and remained an important trading centre throughout and beyond the Roman period, and the recovery of the contents of the shipwrecks has been undertaken with increasing professionalism throughout the 20th century. The divers have been very fortunate to have recovered such a remarkably comprehensive range of amphorae in use over some fifteen centuries, although the Istres vessels are supplemented in this volume by a great many examples from other sites. Although most of the latter are from sites along the French Mediterranean coast, some are from much further afield, including examples from Israel (Haifa) and Britain (London). In spite of the omission of fabrics, the presentation of the typology is excellent, and the illustrations are large and clear, with drawings supplemented by numerous photographs. It must be added, too, that the museum at Istres is well worth a visit: the photograph on the back cover of the book gives just a taste of the collection!    

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