Technical and Social Considerations of Tools from Roman-period Ceramic Workshops at Sagalassos (Southwest Turkey)

Not Just Tools of the Trade?

Authors

  • Elizabeth A. Murphy Joukowsky Institute for Archaeology and the Ancient World, Brown University
  • Jeroen Poblome University of Leuven

DOI:

https://doi.org/10.1558/jmea.v25i2.197

Keywords:

ceramic production, tools, Roman, SW Turkey, workshop archaeology

Abstract

Archaeology has maintained a long-standing interest in ‘the tool’. In light of recent theoretical approaches to tools and technology, this paper presents the results of material analysis on a corpus of artifacts used in red-slipped ceramic production from Roman-period Sagalassos in southwest Turkey. Conceptual themes concern technological choices and the process by which tools were selected and appropriated for use in ceramic production. The tools demonstrate a variety of activity patterns—from reuse and adaptation to design and production. Objects were accordingly employed in complex and creative ways to meet the technical requirements of the artisan. Such needs in some instances also seem to reflect the role of the individual artisan within the organization of the workshop, whereby individuals demarcated their own toolsets within a larger production setting. Patterns of adaptation also highlight a need for interpretive flexibility when assigning functionality and social meaning to material culture. Such processes of selection appear to have been socially situated within the broader urban, suburban, and rural material worlds of Sagalassos.

Author Biographies

Elizabeth A. Murphy, Joukowsky Institute for Archaeology and the Ancient World, Brown University

Elizabeth A. Murphy is a graduate student in the Joukowsky Institute for Archaeology and the Ancient World at Brown University, specializing in Roman-period workshop and production studies. At Sagalassos, she is currently excavating workshops and analyzing ceramic and metal material from production sites in order to situate industry within the social and economic history of the city. Her primary research interests concern cross-craft and multi-craft interaction, technology, economy, and social roles of artisans during the Roman period.

Jeroen Poblome, University of Leuven

Jeroen Poblome is Francqui Research Professor in the Department of Archaeology at the University of Leuven, Belgium. He participates in fieldwork in Boeotia, Greece, at Kinet Höyük, Turkey, and is Field Director of the Sagalassos Archaeological Research Project in Turkey. His research interests include the study of ceramics in the Roman East, material culture studies, artisanal production organization, the role of archaeology in the study of the ancient economy, as well as long-term regional development and issues of sustainability. He co-edits HEROM: Journal of Hellenistic and Roman Material Culture.

Published

2020-10-07

How to Cite

Murphy, E. A., & Poblome, J. (2020). Technical and Social Considerations of Tools from Roman-period Ceramic Workshops at Sagalassos (Southwest Turkey): Not Just Tools of the Trade?. Journal of Mediterranean Archaeology, 25(2), 197–217. https://doi.org/10.1558/jmea.v25i2.197

Issue

Section

Articles