GHEORGHE POPILIAN AND THE ROMAN POTTERY FROM OLTENIA
Gheorghe Popilian’s monograph Ceramica romană din Oltenia is the main reference textbook for southern Romania, at least. The work is now pretty old – more than four decades – and although still very useful, it is obviously the product of its age. For instance, the information connected to fabrication, constantly retrieved in general commentaries or in catalogue’s descriptions, is rather sketchy (‘fine’ or ‘coarse’). More than that, the relationship between the classes and types of pots and the fabrication classes – including the colour – is not always crystal clear, without a thorough analysis.
This study is not a review; it is rather an attempt to turn the book in a handy database. The enterprise is not targeting the whole collection of artefacts, but those suspected to be mainly to result of the local production, as an expression of the local taste and demand, as jars, beakers, flagons, cups, censors, bowls, dishes, lids. I paid a special attention to the types made of many items, because in these cases the presumption of the local manufacture is stronger.
Criteria used by Popilian in drawing his typology are not even, therefore the analysis has to perform along all possible benchmarks: general morphology, terminations (rims, bases, handles), fabrication, colour, decoration, size, when not even ethnographic references. Such details could prove useful when handle fragmentary pottery.
A certain limitation comes from the way in which the collection of study was provided, as the overwhelming majority of the pots were discovered in cemeteries. The distribution of the main types of recipients could prove quite different in civilian settlements or military garrisons.
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