Degree Year

2012

Document Type

Thesis

Degree Name

Bachelor of Arts

Department

Archaeological Studies

Advisor(s)

Susan Kane

Committee Member(s)

Bruce Simonson
R. James Cook
F. Zeb Page

Keywords

Archaeometry, Sangro Valley Project, Samnium, Tegula, Roman tile, Petrography, X-ray fluorescence

Abstract

In this paper, I use archaeometric methods to investigate the raw materials and manufacture of terracotta roof tiles from three Roman sites in the Sangro Valley, Abruzzo, Italy. Although fragmentary remains of the tegula and imbrex roof system are commonly uncovered at sites throughout the ancient world, these tiles are woefully understudied. Equally obscure are the workings of the economy of Samnium during and after its conquest by the Romans. As mass-produced industrial materials generally manufactured and used within a small radius, tiles may prove to be the ideal medium through which to explore the regional ceramic economy. This study applies ceramic petrography and x-ray fluorescence to tiles from the Sangro Valley Project's excavations at Monte Pallano, Acquachiara, and San Giovanni, as well as to samples of local clays and regional coarsewares, in order to identify mineralogical and chemical patterns related to clay sourcing and tile production. These efforts cast doubt on the validity of current methods for identifying ceramic groups and creating fabric typologies, yet they simultaneously shed light on the nature of tile manufacturing in the ancient Sangro Valley, suggesting a pattern of decentralized production in a diffusely settled area. This, in turn, may prove significant for the archaeological interpretation of social and economic trends in the region.

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