Roman Amphorae: a digital resource

University of Southampton, 2005 (updated 2014)

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University of Southampton (2014) Roman Amphorae: a digital resource [data-set]. York: Archaeology Data Service [distributor]

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Dressel 2-4 Italian fabric

Fabric Visual Characteristics

Small undiagnostic bodysherds may well present problems as similar fabrics were often used for Dressel 1, Dressel 2-4, Camulodunum 139 and the later Campanian almond-rimmed type. As a general rule, many Italian Dressel 2-4 amphorae, as well as the other types mentioned above, often appear in a rough, sandy fabric, thinner-walled than Dressel 1, and commonly light pink (5YR 8/4) to light red (2.5YR 6/8) in colour. However, One of the most distinctive fabrics visually and petrologically is the "Black Sand" fabric associated with the bay of Naples region, especially around the towns of Pompeii and Herculaneum (described separately). In the hand-specimen it appears to contain frequent inclusions of "black sand", caused by the presence of small, very dark green rod-like shiny crystals of augite and associated volcanic material.

Fabric Petrological Characteristics

Fabric petrological: Thierrin-Michael has made a petrological study of the main Italian production centres for Dressel 1 and Dressel 2-4 situated along the volcanic tract of the Tyrrhenian coastal area from Tuscany to the bay of Naples (1990a; 1992). She has produced detail quantitative petrological descriptions to enable attribution of the main groups: Fondi, Mondragone, Garigliano, Cales, Cosa, Minturno, Dugenta, Falerno, Eumachi (Pompeii), Albinia and Rosignano Marittima. The products of these centres can be distinguished from each other by the ratios of different non-plastic constituents in the clay of the vessels. In particular: (1) volcanic to non-volcanic, (2) sanidine to clinopyroxene, and (3) discrete volcanic minerals to volcanic rock fragments. The main characteristics of each centre are as follows: (A) Little volcanic material: Rosignano - serpentine. (B) High carbonate plus silica: Cales - volcanic + sanidine Garigliano - clinopyroxene + sanidine. (B) Carbonate voids: Albinia. (C) High silica: Fondi - very high silica. Cosa - more clinopyroxene than sanidine. Mondragone - more sanidine than clinopyroxene. (D) High volcanic material: Falerne - more sanidine than pyroxene. Dugenta - with carbonate, sanidine and clinopyroxene. Eumachi - no silica and more clinopyroxene than sanidine.


Equivalent to: CAM AM 1, CAM AM 2 and ITA AM 2 of the National Roman Fabric Reference Collection (Tomber & Dore, 1998: 88-9, 98)

Amphora made from this fabric