Amphorae in the central Adriatic (2002-present)

Central Adriatic amphorae of the late republican and early imperial times : characterization of the amphora types and their production centres.

 Exvation amphora kiln of Casa Valentina
Exvation amphora kiln of Casa Valentina
Central Adriatic amphorae for the transport of wine and olive-oil (and olives?) of the Ager Gallicus and Picenum (Marche and the north of Abruzzo) represent a specific group and are better known from the consumption sites. They are regularly wrongly attributed to production zones in the south and the north of the Adriatic coasts (Apulia, Po-valley and Istria). But the real production regions are ill-known. Since 2002 within a broad interdisciplinary research program of Ghent University an unexpected but important production zone was recognized in the lower Potenza valley, south of Ancona (Potenza Valley Survey, direction Prof Dr Frank Vermeulen). From this an off-spring project grew, focusing on the study of Central Adriatic amphorae (Dr Patrick Monsieur).

Through archive research, publications, field walking, remote sensing techniques, excavations and material study, no less than 7 amphora workshops came to light around the ancient city of Potentia (Porto Recanati). There exist nearly no parallels for this sort of concentration and this is probably only the top of the iceberg because there  seems to exist a large production zone of some 200 km along the Middle Adriatic coast (Rimini to Pescara), about which only very dispersed and incomplete information is available. This lead to a broader research strategy : on the one side within the triangle of production, distribution and consumption, on the other hand in a comparison with the better known situation on the Tyrrhenean coast of Italy.

Objectives of this project concern mostly the following fields:

  • Typology and fabric
  • Workshops for amphora production
  • Relation to the production of wine and oil
  • Chronology
  • Stamps with names of manufacturers or workshop owners


Dr Patrick Monsieur