Abstract: Investigating the life history of objects at Pompeii

This talk discusses the conceptual background to the Pompeii Artifact Life History Project (PALHIP) and presents some of the results obtained in this initiative’s first two field seasons, carried out during the summers of 2012 and 2013.  PALHIP aims to enhance our understanding of the life history of Roman craft goods with a view to improving our ability to employ evidence of this kind to study patterns of consumption in the Roman world.  More specifically, it is concerned to document the production, distribution, acquisition, use, maintenance, reuse, and discard of craft goods in the immediate pre-eruption period at Pompeii through the description and analysis of previously excavated sets of objects from contexts situated both inside the town and in its immediate hinterland.  In the 2012 field season the project team focused on the description of the artifact assemblage from the Villa Regina a Boscoreale, a modest farmhouse situated 1.3 km to the northwest of the town that was excavated in its entirety during the period 1979-1983, including an extremely interesting set of objects from a small storeroom.  In the 2013 field season the project team will focus on the description of sets of artifacts recovered in the ongoing excavations of the Domus dei Casti Amanti (the House of the Chaste Lovers), a well-appointed town house in Regio IX of Pompeii.  In order to communicate some idea of the results obtained the talk will focus on the close-up examination of several of the objects studied, showing how through the evaluation of surfaces of an artifact it is possible to draw insights into its life hi2007 


Short bibliography on lecture topic:


Peña, J.T. Roman pottery in the archaeological record.  (2007).

Peña, J.T. and McCallum, M. “The production and distribution of pottery at Pompeii: a review of the evidence. Part 2: the material basis for pottery production and pottery distribution.” American journal of archaeology 113.2 (2009)165-201.

Peña, J.T. and McCallum, M. “The production and distribution of pottery at Pompeii: a review of the evidence. Part 1: production.” American journal of archaeology 113.1 (2009) 57-79.



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