Made in Africa. Production and consumption of African red slip ware in late antiquity

Begin - Einde 
2016 - 2020 (lopend)



African Red Slip Ware was produced from the 1st to the 7th century AD in the Roman provinces of modern-day Tunisia, Algeria and Libya and exported to the whole Mediterranean basin on a massive scale. African tablewares found on Mediterranean sites have long been used for tracing and explaining supra-regional trade, but for a more precise evaluation of the economic relations between the producers and consumers of African Red Slip Ware, it is necessary to know their exact origins. The PhD project focuses on the identification of different Tunisian workshops by applying standardized fabric description, an archaeological method to classify pottery according to the microscopic features of the sherd defined by the source and treatment of clay as well as the temperature and atmosphere during firing. It is based on finds from major North and Central Tunisian workshops that were visited by the Dutch archaeologist Jan Willem Salomonson during survey campaigns in the 1960s and 1970s. The pieces from Salomonson’s collection are of clear provenance and therefore used to define the microscopic features of a certain production site, which is like a unique fingerprint. Cross-referencing these ‘fingerprints’ with samples of African tableware from selected Mediterranean consumption sites enables to accurately reconstruct distribution patterns and to provide a new approach in understanding late antique trading networks.