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Early Roman Salona and Tilurium vessells glass in the context of vessel glass findings from the area of the province of Dalmatia


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Buljević, Zrinka. (2016). Early Roman Salona and Tilurium vessells glass in the context of vessel glass findings from the area of the province of Dalmatia. PhD Thesis. Filozofski fakultet u Zagrebu, Department of Archaeology.
(Poslijediplomski doktorski studij arheologije) [mentor Sanader, Mirjana].

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In this work, 886 items are analyzed, of which 641 are from Salona and sites in the Salona ager, and 245 are from Tilurium. The sole non-glass item (cat. no. 864) is a marble mould for the production of rectangular glass bottles. The glass vessels examined herein, dated from the mid-2nd century BC/1st century AD to the 3rd century AD, are held in the Archaeological Museum in Split and the Trilj Territorial Museum. Salona and Tilurium were important Roman sites; Salona was the seat of the province of Dalmatia, while Tilurium was a nearby military encampment in which Legio VII was stationed in the first half of the 1st century. The processed glass vessels from the Archaeological Museum in Split are generally not described with their context, since the items were most often purchased, a fact noted here in the catalogue. The museum catalogue generally lists the find site as only the general location (Salona or some other site in the Salona ager, and Tilurium), without precise specification, and even if it is known, it is generally not relevant to the results of this research, because it does not contribute to the evaluation of a specific type. Therefore, the comparative typological method was employed in this work, with consultation of known typologies structured on the basis of dated finds and other relevant publications of materials. Each group of vessels is accompanied by published analogies and references to similar vessels from other sites in the Roman province of Dalmatia. The materials from the first half of the 1st century in Tilurium and Burnum, the military outposts of Legio VII and Legio XI, indicate the same source (Italy) and use. The descriptors for the glass vessels found during research in the military camp in Tilurium, held in the Trilj Territorial Museum, are more precise. Since extensive and significant research into this military camp is still in its initial phase, there are still no wellrounded and dated enclosed units inside specific structures. These finds have therefore also been analysed by means of the typological-comparative method. The finds in the work are linked with the Tilurium site in line with their level of research based on test trench, block and stratigraphic unit. Thus far, the materials from Trench A, defined as the century complex of the legionary cohort in the south-east corner of the camp, facilitate the best interpretation. The glass finds testify to the very early phase of life in the structure, perhaps at the time of Augustus (so-called cast glass), and certainly at the time of his direct heirs. This was also when Legio VII was posted in the camp. A reduction in the quantity of finds is notable as of the latter half of the first century, when Legio VII left the camp. A similar situation holds in the undefined structure in Trench Z, i.e., part of the walls in the north-western part of the camp. The uniform quality of the glass in Trenches Z and A indicates that the structure in Trench Z had a similar purpose as that in Trench A, only on the opposite side of the camp. But while Late Antique, and possibly even later glass was found in Trench A, only a single Late Antique shard was found in Trench Z. I maintain that the structure in Trench Z was in use during the 1st century, probably during the stay of Legio VII, while the structure in Trench A evidently remained in use even during subsequent periods. The excellent state of preservation of the Salona glass points to the supposition that it was generally taken from funerary contexts. The context of the finds, however, is only known for a smaller portion of the items, specifically 36 items from research at the necropolis in the Lora precinct in Split in 1965, and 47 items from Grave 348 in the Western Salona Necropolis researched in 1987. Grave 348 has been dated to the 1st century, from the late Tiberian and Claudian eras. Furthermore, 70 balsamaria, according to the paper slips in the depot, originated in a grave in Solin, and have been dated to the 1st century. The context is therefore known for 83 of the 641 Salona items (12.94%), or for a total of 153 Salona items (23.86%). There are data for several items that they came from necropolises, that they are burial finds, which are significant to determine the purpose of deformed pieces, and sometimes even to the dating of types or necropolis phases. The deformed conical balsamarium (XI.1) under cat. no. 658, together with the one under cat. no. 657, and the tubular (X.3) balsamarium (cat. no. 524), originated in the Hollow Church, where they probably testify to the earlier phase of burials at this notable Early Christian and medieval site. The conical balsamarium under cat. no. 661 was found at the renowned Majdan medieval site. Such a balsamarium in a tilecovered grave (cat. no. 664) documents a burial phase at the notable Early Christian complex at Manastirine, which indicates the long duration of this type into the 3rd century. Notable here is that the balsamaria with protruding walls (I: cat. no. 161) and pyriform body (IV.1: cat. no. 184) document an early phase of the necropolis at Kapljuč, later an Early Christian complex. The glass vessels were classified according to production techniques, starting from oldest to youngest, thus from those made by core forming, and then cast, then free-blown to mould-blown. Within this division of vessels, they were further broken down by use into cosmetic, tableware, storage and transport and miscellaneous. An attempt was made to analyse vessels classified by groups, types and forms, which with regard to morphological details and decoration were further divided into sub-types, by chronological sequence, while not neglecting the complementarity typical of certain shapes that changed slowly, i.e., endured in specific uses over extended periods. Most of the Salona glass, 614 items (69.30%), was made by free blowing, and these are mostly smaller or larger balsamaria (unguentaria) and four aryballoi. Out of the total 535 balsamaria and aryballoi, most are tubular, 277 or 51.77%, while 78 or 14.57% are conical balsamaria. Such a quantity of unbroken cosmetic vessels primarily indicates a funerary context, with industrial and possibly local production. Most of the Tilurium glass tableware, 141 items (15.91%), were made by so-called casting. Here I should note that the shards that could not be assembled were considered as a single item, but how many items they actually accounted for is not known. 89, or 63.12%, of the shards of monochrome ribbed bowls, 17 or 12.05% of the shards of polychrome ribbed bowls, and 24 or 17.02% of the shards of smooth polychrome bowls have been preserved. This corresponds to the picture of distribution of what are probably Italic vessels made at the end of the 1st century BC and in the 1st century AD, primarily for Italy or urban and rural civilian settlements and military enchampments established by Augustus or his direct heirs in the neighbouring provinces; monochrome bowls with natural tones were in use longer, and their production probably halted during the Flavian era. At both sites, most of the glass has natural tones (516 items or 58.3% in Salona and 136 items or 15.36% in Tilurium). The fewest glass vessels are those with natural tones and traces of other colours (5 items or 0.56%), all from Salona (cat. no. 194, 196, 711, 206, 810). There is one example, a date-shaped mould-blown balsamarium made of purple and almost colourless glass (cat. no. 873). This was a technique applied since the 1st century, involving the intentional combination of two different colours by simultaneously blowing the previously heated gathered pieces of differently-coloured glass, with the tip of the blowpipe more intensely heated. More polychrome glass was from Tilurium (44 items or 4.97%) than from Salona (12 items or 1.35%). This is glass from the 1st century (specifically its first half). These are Salonitan core-formed amphoriskoi and an alabastron of the type produced since the mid-2nd century BC, cast balsamaria with protruding walls, and Tilurian and Salonitan ribbed and smooth cast bowls. Only the shard of a Salonitan bowl with faceted and engraved geometric decoration (I) dates to the last 2nd/first half of the 3rd century, which was a chromatic exception among the analogous naturally toned examples. Noteworthy are the monochrome examples of vessels from the 1st century with rolled or applied glass threads of a different colour (21 Tilurium items or 23.7%; 6 Salona items or 0.67%): free-blown ribbed bowls with applied threads from Tilurium and Salona, dated to the first half of the 1st century, followed by Salonitan cylindrical cups with applied threads and a pyriform balsamaria (IV.1: cat. no. 175, 176), or an unguentarium (I). The pyriform balsamaria and unguentaria had a share in the oldest production of blown glass. Only the Salona basket-shaped vessel with applied threads has been dated to the 2nd century. In Salona, there was more intentionally colored monochrome glass (93 items or 10.5%) than in Tilurium (24 items or 2.71%), while there were more decolorated items in Tilurium (20 items or 2.25%) than in Salona (7 items or 0.79%). At both sites, tones of deep blue and yellow colored glass are the most common, followed by green, white and purple in Salona, and white, green and purple in Tilurium. The colored glass is most from the 1st century, because the colored examples are mostly types produced either in the first half of the 1st century or by the 1st century, while the coloring indicates the earliest production of these types. The absence of coloured examples among the youngest tubular balsamaria (X.3) is noticeable. Only the Salona conical unguentaria from the 2nd/3rd centuries (III.2: cat. no. 723; III.3: cat. no. 725; III.4), and possibly the spindle-shaped balsamarium (VIII) and bottle with geometric decoration (VI), dated from the 1st to 4th century, are of a later provenance. Shards of cast vessels types of the decolorised glass that appeared in the Flavian era, customary in the first decades of the 2nd century, and possibly in use until the middle of that century, were found in Tilurium. A fragmented vessel with a horizontal rib or thread under the rim and shards of a cup with applied oval decoration (II) were also from Tilurium. These shards of Tilurium vessels belong to the types dated from the latter half of the 1st century to the 3rd century. The decolorised glass in the third quarter of the 1st century replaced the earlier colored glass, which is well illustrated by finds of the three aforementioned types, or groups, in Tilurium. The earliest, thus polychrome, Salonitan vessels were core formed (3 items, or 0.33%) in the Eastern Mediterranean workshops on Cyprus or the Syrian-Palestinian territory during period from the mid-2nd century BC to the early 1st century AD. Next are the vessels made of so-called cast glass from the first half of the 1st century (15 items or 1.69% from Salona; 132 items or 14.89% from Tilurium) which, although also manufactured in Syrian-Palestinian territory, were probably Italic products based precisely on the context of the find in a military camp of Legio VII which was established in neighbouring Dalmatia by Augustus or his heirs. Due to the high quantity of finds and wide distribution, of cast, almost colourless glass of the kind found in Tilurium and dated from the Flavian era to the mid-2nd century, its production centre has not been identified. Vessels produced by free blowing were largely from Salona; most are balsamaria, of which those from Tilurium are only shards of tubular balsamaria, as well as a shard of a single spheroid balsamarium. Free-blown glassware was imported into Salona and Tilurium from various parts of the Empire, most – it is assumed – from the western workshops (419 items or 47.29% from Salona; 82 items or 9.25% from Tilurium). Among these vessels, tubular balsamaria (X) are the most common type (277 from Salona and 42 from Tilurium); it is possible that there were partially a product of the eastern workshops, which is indicated by the inwardly drawn rims on 48 examples, but also partially of a local, Salonitan workshop, which is indicated by their number and homogeneity, i.e., the fact that they are mostly made of glass with natural bluish tones. Conical balsamaria (XI), produced throughout the Roman Empire from the latter half of the 1st to the 2nd century, were the second most numerous type of glassware (78 examples) from Salona. It is assumed that they were partially produced in a Dalmatian, specifically Salonitan, workshop, which is possibly indicated by the poorer craftsmanship in some examples (cat. no. 629, 661, 673, 696), and where, to be sure given the quantity and homogeneity, higher-quality examples could have also been produced. The deformed balsamaria may also testify to local production as well as funerary cremation rituals. Those found outside of context, present in a small number of examples, were probably imported (free blown: I: cat. no. 162; II: cat. no. 164; III: cat. no. 171; IV.3: cat. no. 202, 206; V.1: 246-248, 254; VI.2: cat. no. 263; VI.3: cat. no. 266, 267, 271, 272; mould-blown, cat. no. 876). Those present in a high number of examples are, based on their context, considered evidence of the funerary cremation cult (X. cat. no. 520, 521, 559-571; 572-578; XI: cat. no. 681-685), while those without a known context are possibly local products (X: cat. no. 309, 454-467, 514-519, 539-543; XI: cat. no. 680, 686-690). It is worth stressing that a deformed conical balsamarium (XI.1: cat. no. 658) came from the ‘Hollow Church,’ where it probably documents an early burial phase at this notable Early Christian and medieval site. Possible local products are the spherical balsamarium with uncharacteristically thick walls and a flat base (cat. no. 163) and three balsamaria with ovoid bodies and an atypical ring-shaped foot (cat. no. 235-237). The only spheroid balsamarium with an inwardly drawn rim (cat. no. 280) was most likely an unsuccessful product of the Salona workshop from the end of the 1st or early 2nd century. Among the balsamaria with depressions on the body (cat. no. 701-704) from the 2nd-4th centuries, three (cat. no. 701, 702, 704) are possible products of the 2nd century south Liburnian, Zadar workshop. The conical unguentarium from Salona listed under cat. no. 712 is a poor product, possibly of some Dalmatian workshop, as is the aryballos under cat. no. 734, from the latter half of the 1st/2nd or 3rd century. The pots, urns and corresponding lids (cat. no. 816-849) from Salona are the products of western workshops of the mid-1st/2nd century; the ovoid urns (cat. no. 816-841) are the product of northern Italic or Dalmatian workshops, possibly in Salona, which is indicated by their number and homogeneity. Square bottles were imported from various parts of the Roman Empire. A bottle with a rosette impression on the bottom (cat. no. 862) may possibly be a Dalmatian product of the latter half of the 2nd/3rd century. The rectangular bottles are western products from the Flavian to Severan eras, but most often from the Antonine era. The easternmost finds are from Budva and Dura-Europos. They were not found at either Salona or Tilurium. However, a mould for the production of such bottles bearing the name of the Salonitan glass-maker Miscenius Ampliatus (cat. no. 864) dated to the fourth quarter of the 1st/2nd century, was originally from the South-eastern Salona Necropolis, and this is the most eloquent evidence of local glass production in Salona. Mould-blown vessels imported from various parts of the Roman Empire were present in both Salona and Tilurium in 19 finds, 9 from Salona and 10 from Tilurium. Based on current knowledge, there was no glass production in Tilurium, while there undoubtedly was in Salona. However, for the period under consideration, there is no more direct evidence than the aforementioned mould, while indirect evidence includes the quantity of homogenous materials and some more poorly crafted or deformed examples. By the same token, the fact that some glass was discovered in Salona, a Mediterranean metropolis of a province at the boundary between east and west, does not necessarily indicate a place of production. The concentration of Dalmatian finds only contributes to the solution of the still open question of the origin of a given vessel. A striking example is the still open matter of the origin of the Ennion cups (cat. no. 879-881) from the second quarter of the 1st century, which may have been imported to Tilurium (Burnum and Narona) from northern Italy, but also from the Orient. A concentration of finds of this Ennion vessel type has been noted in northern Italy. According to some scholars, the master moved his workshop from Syrian-Palestinian territory to northern Italy, while others hold that this was an exchange of moulds from one workshop to another, i.e. long-distance trade. It is my opinion that glass was brought to Salona by ships, which is suggested by this city’s location and the fact that maritime transport was less expensive and safer than the overland alternative. Furthermore, I maintain that Tilurium was supplied through Salona, whence glass was conveyed along the via Gabiniana, or ad imum montem Ditionum Ulcirum, which was also the shortest route between the Roman military camps of Legio VII and Legio XI – Tilurium and Burnum (supplied through Scardona), constructed during the reign of Emperor Tiberius in the interest of easier operative contacts between legions and surveillance over the Delmataeans subjugated in 9 AD and in a territory that was the scene of armed conflicts between the Delmataeans and Romans as recently as the latter half of the 1st century BC. A possibility that should not be overlooked here is transport to and supply of the Dalmatian market using the highway from Aquileia to Macedonian Dyrrhachium and Apollonia, where it linked with the Via Egnatia, the main transversal toward Salonika and farther east. Glass from the north-western provinces had to be delivered precisely by overland routes. Such connections with the territory of Germania Inferior are indicated by the Dalmatian finds of glass phalerae, which points to the merits and loyalty of the legionnaires at the time of Tiberius, Germanicus and Drusus. Based on comparisons between the Tilurium materials and those from the military camps in Augst, Windisch, Nijmegen and Haltern, Oberaden and Anreppen, it follows that the army was the most powerful vehicle for Roman globalization.

Item Type: PhD Thesis
Uncontrolled Keywords: Roman glass, vessells, glass workshops, import, Salona, Tilurium, Dalmatia
Subjects: Archaeology
Departments: Department of Archaeology
Supervisor: Sanader, Mirjana
Additional Information: Poslijediplomski doktorski studij arheologije
Date Deposited: 26 Oct 2016 11:14
Last Modified: 26 Oct 2016 11:14

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