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Provisional Summary of G10/80 Pottery

Area BB9

In area BB9, the latest material in topsoil layers is a few sherds of 'Forum Ware', a ware which dates from the fifth to eight centuries A.D. The next most recent, and far more numerous, group of datable material is African Red Slip, mostly in cooking ware forms Hayes 23B, 196 and 197, which date to the late second and early third centuries A.D. No fourth century A.D. material was recovered in area BB9.

Other material in topsoil includes late Republican, Augustan and mid-first century A.D. pottery. The earliest material from layers in this area dates to the second and particularly the first centuries B.C.; however, this material is found in contexts in which the later material mentioned also occurs.

Area BB12

Topsoil layers from area BB12 have a bit of vitreous glaze ceramic which dates to the seventeenth or eigteenth centuries A.D. The next most recent pottery found was a sherd or two of common ware dated to the fifth or sixth centuries A.D. There are a few sherds of African Red Slip of Hayes Form 50 which date to the third or early fourth century A.D., but the concentration of datable material is again of African Red Slip cooking ware of the late second and early third centuries A.D.

A range of material from the late Republican period to the late first century A.D. was also found across the BB12 area. In areas D, E, Q and S in BB12, late second to early third century A.D. material was found in the lowest layers dug, sometimes in association with the earlier types of ceramic material mentioned.

Area M, dug in fourteen layers, reached levels with consistent earlier occupation material. Late second century A.D. material, mixed with material ranging back to the first century B.C., appears in all layers in area M down to and including layer (7). The latest material in layer (8) is Augustan; in (9) first century B.C.; in (10) first half first century B.C.; in (11) second century B.C. There was no datable material in the three lowest layers in area M, but there was no evidence of its being of a markedly different or earlier type than the material in (11).

In area T, layer (3) has material from the second and early third centuries A.D., but nothing was found in (4) which is necessarily later than the first century B.C. Layer (3) in area R was not clearly datable, but may have material from the first century A.D.

A nice group of publishable and drawable pieces was found in both BB trenches; the most complete pieces were examples of African Red Slip cooking ware from the second and early third centuries A.D. (Hayes Forms 23B, 196 and 197), but good examples of earlier material were also found. This was in contrast to area X18, where most of the pottery was recovered as fairly small sherds.

Area X18

Area X18 did not produce as much pottery, relatively, as did areas BB9 and BB12. The. surface layers in X18 have as their latest material African Red Slip from the late second and early third centuries A.D., with the exception of one sherd possibly of the fifth century A.D. The earliest dated material in the surface layers is Augustan.

A sherd of fifth to eighth century A.D. 'Forum Ware' also appeared in X18, in area V layer (3). This is surprising if the layer in question represents stratified occupation material.

The site was divided into and dug by many subordinate areas, but the pottery picture over all areas of X18 is consistent. In areas A, C, D, E, F, H, I, L, S, U and V, all layers dug indicate first century B.C. and particularly Augustan occupation, but none of these areas is free from an intermixture of material from the late second and early third centuries A.D.

Areas B and T, however, which were dug in seven levels, have consistent late Republican and Augustan material in layers (5), (6) and (7). Most of the datable material from these layers in X18 consists of orange-glazed, sometimes iridescent, thin-walled cup sherds, which are of the Augustan era, and late Republican color-coated wares. There are also small amounts of first century B.C. black glaze and Augustan Italian terra sigillata. Areas K, Q, Q/U, R and W also have Augustan material free from intermixture with the common later (i.e., second and early third century A.D.) material.

Joins between Area X18 and the BB Trenches

X18 and the BB trenches are physically close to each other, and the occurence of joins in pottery found in the different areas is a matter of interest. Physical joins between pots from the two areas were rare; however, most of a large cooking pot was found in topsoil in almost equal proportions in areas BB12 and X18. This pot is of a type related to a Cosa coarse ware form. 1 Another important join is in a buff plain ware bowl with a flared wall, which was evidently used as a dye pot for a dark red pigment. Although the base is missing, the wall flare and slightly thickened rim suggest the influence of Hayes Form 196 in African Red Slip, which would imply a late second or early third century A.D. date for the piece. Pieces from this bowl were found in BB9 0 level (3) and X18 H level (3).


Area X18 and the BB areas have fairly similar pottery histories. There is strong pottery evidence from both areas of a period of occupation in the late second and early third centuries A.-D.; pottery from both areas also indicates occupation of the site in the Augustan period. There is a lack of pottery which specifically dates to the second half of the first century A.D., which may suggest a break in occupation during that period.

The earlier material in X18, however, seems restricted to the last half of the first century B.C., while the material in the BB trenches evidently starts earlier (about the mid-second century B.C.) and runs later (possibly to the end of the first century A.D.). The very minimal amounts of later pottery found suggest casual transients in the early medieval era and again in the seventeenth or eighteenth centuries A.D.

Joann Freed

'Dyson's Saucepan Class 10, from the Late Shops deposit at Cosa; this deposit consists mainly of material from the second and third centuries A.D; cf. Stephen L. Dyson, Cosa: The Utilitarian Pottery, Rome, 1976, p. 140 and fig. 54, LS 1-5.


All text and images copyright © 2002 by Walter Widrig and Rice University. Last updated June 2005 by