Terra sigillata ceramics were the most famous ancient tableware produced during the Roman period owing to the mass production of standardized shapes and the widespread distribution of the vessels. The beautiful ceramics were characterized by their reddish coloration, glossy coating, and the unique ornamentation created by the use of stamps (sigilla). The manufacturing of the pottery originally started in central Italy during the latter half of the first century BCE, and the success of these ceramics led to the rapid spreading of the technique outside the peninsula. From the beginning of the first century CE, large production centers were set up in southern Gaul in such sites as La Graufesenque.
Studying ancient ceramics using materials science approach help reveal subtle changes in technology and provide invaluable clues for reconstructing the everyday life of past societies.
Work performed on ALS Beamline 12.3.2.
Leon, Y., Sciau, P., Passelac, M., Sanchez, C., Sablayrolles, R., Goudeau, P., & Tamura, N. “Evolution of terra sigillata technology from Italy to Gaul through a multi-technique approach,” Journal of Analytical Atomic Spectrometry, 30, 658-665 (2015).