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Review of the Conference on "La ceramica nel Sinis" (25th-26th October 1996)

A few months ago Oristano and Cabras hosted the conference "La ceramica racconta la storia (The pottery tells the story)". It was organized by the "Ossidiana" cultural association and focused on the theme "La ceramica nel. Sinis". Since the first conference was held in 1994, the meetings have established themselves as both important and stimulating arena's for debate for all those sardinian archaeologists working in this field.
The last session was reserved for the post-classical period. The ceramic aside, three contributions imparticular drew attention to various key moments in the later historic phases of the island.
"Ceramiche d'uso e prodotti dell'industria aristica minore del Sinis" was the title of the paper of P.B:Serra (Cagliari.) A detailed series of materials was presented, including much ceramic that had been recovered in the outlying areas of the punic-roman site of Tharros. The sigillata chiara D along with the lamps attest intense trade with North Africa, especially during the vandalic period. The various christian and jewish lamps that were found would seem to suggest that Tharros was a highly diversified religious community.
Apart from the sigillata chiara D, other seventh century finds have been found. For example, earrings made of twisted wire were found in Tharros. These have enabled archaeologists to make comparisons with other analogous objects found in sicilian tombs and has led to corrections being made in the traditionally accepted punic dating for these objects. A grave of S.Giorgio of Cabras (OR), for example, provided us with a pair of earrings termed "globo mammellato", attributed to the VIth-VII centuries.
The communication of D.Salvi (Cagliari) entitled "Ceramiche da un contesto cabrarese" illustrated the ceramic fragments that were found at the bottom of a well. It is to be presumed that these ceramic fragments were there to help in the filtration of water, a technique that was already in use in Sardinia, and also at Luni. Anaylisis has revealed that the aforementioned materials contained a slip under the glaze or only slip which were present throughout the inside faces of the pottery, although the external surfaces were without covering. The recognisable forms are table wares: bowl fragments and a dish fragment are some examples.Their local production is suggested by the clays and the tipically sardinian decorative motifs, such as flowers combined with wave motifs or flower decoration that tie in well with spanish parsley decoration. These ceramics,date to the XVIth century. Despite their small number, they are useful in creating a distribution map, and as the speaker underlined, they could open up the way to further studies in local ceramic production.
M.Dadea concluded the session, presenting the communication "Ceramiche giudicali dalla domestia di S:Jaccu in agro nurachese". The speaker illustrated the preliminary results of his study on the ceramic fragments found during a survey in the area of a suspected "domestia (rural house)". The material seems to date to the third quarter of the XIIIth century. The imported potteries, like "graffita arcaica", "maiolica arcaica", spiral ware, are not numerous. However they confirm the important role exercised by Sardinia as a cross-roads in mediterranean trade in Middle Ages. The local ceramic production, more conspicuous than the aforementioned, is represented especially by small amphoras without slip or glaze. They have a pure clay and combed decoration.
During the concluding debate the importance of intensifying studies of postclassical ceramic - but also that of postmedieval- was firmly accentuated. In Sardinia, studies of the later ceramics, have not until now recieved due attention.

Elisabetta Garau

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