San Gemini Preservation Studies 2017
Analysis of Archaeological Ceramics (3 units)
Session 1 (May 29 – June 23) 4 weeks
Course #: SG 203A preliminary syllabus
Prof. Elena Gabriella Lorenzetti
Note: This course is related to the Carsulae Roman Baths Excavation and students taking this course can also participate in the Carsulae excavations. There is a two-week overlap between the two programs. In the last two weeks of the ceramics course, students doing both programs will be required to attend some of the introductory lectures and meetings for the excavation.
Led by a practicing field archaeologist expert in Roman ceramics, this course forms the first half of the program Restoration and Analysis of Archaeological Ceramics. The lecture classes give an overview of ceramic technology and its evolution over time; it also explores the various typologies of pottery and architectural ceramics found in Italian archaeological sites. In the afternoon workshop students work with archaeological artifacts from local excavations (6th century BC – 20th century AD) and learn to perform analysis and documentation of sherds.
SUMMARY OF COURSE CONTENT:
1. CERAMICS HISTORY AND PROCESS
Historical introduction to San Gemini and the region
• History of the evolution of the city of San Gemini
• Visit to the city of San Gemini
• Visit to the ancient city of Carsulae
Why study pottery
• Pottery in context: the multiple meaning of a ceramic sherd, points of view, goals, methods of cataloging.
Historic ceramic materials and technologies
• Nature of materials: physical and chemical properties, origin and historical use
• Clay forming: techniques, tools, functional shapes and their historical evolution
• Drying: the physical process, recognizing flaws
• Firing: from the clay to the pot, the chemical and physical process, flaws and results
• Decorating and coating: tools and materials, applycation techniques; historical evolution of the techniques
• Describing and drawing pottery: the description as analyzing method, the parts of a pot, the correct method for a complete and scientific documentation
Evolution of ceramics in Italy
• Archaic: from archaic coarse ware to bucchero pottery, the birth of Roman power
• Classical: from black gloss to Roman sigillatae, the slave production system and the history of Roman trade through pottery
• Medieval: from the archaic maiolica to the colorful production of Renaissance
• Early modern: from maiolica to industrial productions
Archaeological context and ceramic
• Inorganic and organic materials: nature and properties
• The environment of abandonment
• Ceramic decay: processes and morphology
2. WORKSHOP: ANALYSIS OF ARCHAEOLOGICAL CERAMICS
• Recognizing materials, techniques, marks and flaws
• Clay forming
Slips and glazes
• Stylistic analysis
Documentation and recording
The course duration is 4 weeks. From Monday to Friday, theoretical seminars and lectures will be held during the morning for 3 hours and workshop in the afternoons. The course includes some study visits to Carsulae and regional museums.
Assigned reading, written assignment.
Courses SG 203B is complementary to this course and must be taken in the same session.