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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Melian fabric

Fabric Visual Characteristics

Very rough gritty fabric, yellowish red to brown (5YR 5/6, 7.5YR 5/4, 7.5YR 5/6); with frequent large white, grey and brown inclusions, large rounded rock fragments up to 3 mm, which often appear cracked, small yellowish inclusions and a thick yellowish engobe on the surface of the amphora. Inclusions of volcanic glass are clearly visible in the hand-specimen.

Fabric Petrological Characteristics

Thin sectioning shows a varied and poorly-sorted assemblage of mainly volcanic rocks of an andesite-dacite-rhyolite composition and discrete grains of quartz, pyroxene, amphibole, mica and sanidine and plagioclase felspar but with occasional metamorphic rocks present as well. However, the clay matrix is dominated throughout by large inclusions of volcanic glass (obsidian through to pitchstone) (cf. Picon, 2001; Borgard, 2005; Cipriano et al, 2005). It is worth noting that there are similarities between the fabric here and that of certain Bronze Age coarse wares from Phylakopi, Melos, which are thought to represent local Melian production (Vaughan and Williams, 2007). A number of chemical analyses have been carried out on “Melian” amphorae, noteably by Picon, which have characterized the fabric and also confirmed a source on Melos (2001; see also Cipriano et al, 2005; Marquie et al, 2005).

Amphora made from this fabric


i Melos