A Roma shipwreck of c.AD200 at Plemmirio, Sicily: Evidence for north African amphora production during the Severan period

Authors
Citation
D. Gibbins, A Roma shipwreck of c.AD200 at Plemmirio, Sicily: Evidence for north African amphora production during the Severan period, WORLD ARCHA, 32(3), 2001, pp. 311-334
Citations number
49
Language
INGLESE
art.tipo
Article
Categorie Soggetti
Archeology
Journal title
WORLD ARCHAEOLOGY
ISSN journal
0043-8243 → ACNP
Volume
32
Issue
3
Year of publication
2001
Pages
311 - 334
Database
ISI
SICI code
0043-8243(200102)32:3<311:ARSOCA>2.0.ZU;2-5
Abstract
A Roman shipwreck at Plemmirio, near Syracuse in south-east Sicily, held a cargo of cylindrical amphoras from Africa Proconsularis (modern Tunisia). T he pottery indicates a wreck date at the time of the emperor Septimius Seve rus (AD 193-211), and suggests that the other main ports of call were in ce ntral Tyrrhenian Italy. This paper focuses on the evidence for amphora prod uction during the period of the Severan dynasty (AD 193-235), when north Af rica began to replace south Spain as the main source of long-distance olive oil import to Rome. The two cargo amphora forms, Africana 1 and Africana 2 A, were probably respectively for olive oil and fish produce, the latter re flecting a major export industry which developed alongside oil production. Kiln survey shows that these forms were produced in urban and peri-urban ma nufactories at several east Tunisian port sites, and Instrumental Neutron A ctivation Analysis, here applied for the first time successfully to a wreck assemblage, indicates that the Plemmairio amphoras were from the area of S ullechtum. The limited morphological variability in the assemblage reflects highly organized production. Wreck evidence greatly improves our understan ding of amphora production, not only between the Spanish and the African ph ases but also in the evolving patterns of African export through the third century AD and beyond which can be related to wider political and economic developments in the middle and late Roman Empire.