First Circular


Dear Colleagues and Friends,

The Round-Table PATABS I on the production and trade of transport amphorae in the Black Sea was initiated in 2006 with the first meeting in both Georgia (Batumi) and Turkey (Trabzon). Two other meetings, PATABS II and III, organized in Bulgaria in 2007 and in Romania in 2009, delivered important contributions on diffusion and trade, production centers and workshops, typology and chronology, updating regularly the new results on this matter.

It is a great pleasure to inform you that we are planning to organize the fourth edition of PATABS in 2021, aiming to preserve the continuity of this specific meeting by inviting you to participate with new contributions.

The main goal of the conference is to bring together researchers working all around the Black Sea and adjacent areas of contacts as well as experts from other countries, in order to discuss the development of the research on Black Sea amphorae. It intends to provide scholars with an overall picture of the recent results and studies obtained during the last decade after the third edition in 2009, as an anchorage to carry on PATABS’ tradition.

Planned sessions:

  • Major site discoveries since 2009 (last PATABS III) on land and underwater
  • Trade in Black Sea, Mediterranean and Western countries
  • Contents, metrology and standardization
  • Clay analyses
  • Epigraphy
  • “Free session” for discussing and sharing any unsolved questions encountered during our sessions (could be related to identification, type, chronology, provenance…), in order to have some feedback from peers.

Dates and Place: 

PATABS IV will be held on June 13, 14 and 15, 2021. The Zoom information will be sent by mail after registration to

The presentations will be held in English (duration ca 15 minutes).

We are planning to publish in 2022 the Proceedings of the Round-Table in the collection of Archaeopress.

We would be honored if you accept to participate to PATABS IV.

Stay safe!

The organizing committee,

Vasilica Lungu
Institute for South-Eastern European Studies of the Romanian Academy in Bucharest

Nino Inaishvili
Niko Berdzenishvili Institute of Batumi Shota Rustaveli State University, Department of Archaeology and History

Dominique Kassab Tezgör
Bilkent University, Department of Archaeology, Ankara

Host institutions

In Memoriam Alexandru Avram

Dear Colleagues,

With heavy heart, we inform you of the unexpected and sudden death of our colleague and friend, Alexandru Avram, on the 4th of August at Histria during the excavation season. He died before the age of 65.

As you know, he is one of the most famous scholars in the field of amphorae and Greek epigraphy, we shall remember him for his brilliant mind, but also his kindness and generosity. His work will stay a model and a reference for future generations. 

He was a member of the Scientific Committee of our recent Round Table PATABS IV and he participated in a presentation dedicated to the Rhodian stamps in Istros, the city which has received his last breath. We wish to dedicate the publication of the Proceedings to his memory.

We would like kindly to ask our colleagues participants who knew him to send a text with a memory, an anecdote, and anything they wish and we shall collect them in the first pages of the volume.

Vasilica Lungu

and the Organizing Committee

From Mark Lawal
Dear All,
I wanted you to know that I recently informed the community of the American School of Classical Studies at Athens about the passing of our friend Alexandru Avram. I attach the text of the notice here.
I have to admit that my own memory is unreliable on the details, but I think I first met Alexandru at the conference in Varna in 1996 or 1997. I joined a van excursion from there to Romania along with Joe Carter, Niculae Conovici, David Howorth, and Alexandru… (my apologies if I am forgetting anyone from that epic journey!) – we had an amazing tour of Histria where I distinctly remember Alexandru assuring me that the mosquitos were not too terrible. We crossed paths again in Athens in 2000… and I have a vague memory of quite unexpectedly encountering him at Olbia and Berezan.
I was amused when I saw that he was labelled simply as ‘Professor’ on our zoom PATABS conference. I am deeply thankful for that one final encounter.


  • I am preparing a catalogue of the Rhodian amphora stamps in Istros (Histria VIII.3), which will also contain some considerations on the dynamics of trade links between Rhodes and Istros. As a preliminary remark, I realize that the apogee of Rhodian amphora importations corresponds to the periods III-IV. The highest ratios seem to date to c. 200-180 and 160-140 respectively. Nevertheless, it is difficult to explain these fluctuations through an historical background.

  • The globular amphora type Antonova 9 is well-known in the Western and Northern Black Sea Early Byzantine archaeological contexts (mostly in the second half of the 6th and early 7th century). Some amphora findings in whitish fabric, imitating the canonical form LRA1 in Dobroudja (Axiopolis, hinterland of Tomis) and Eastern Mediterranean (Paphos) display identical clay texture with Antonova 9 type, thus allowing the identification of a production center specialized in the manufacture of these two containers.

  • A recent synthesis mapped the distribution of Pontic, mostly Sinopean, amphorae in the Eastern Mediterranean during the fourth to seventh centuries. This study was basically concerned with amphorae of Kassab Tezgör type-group C Snp II-III datable to the fourth and fifth, and specimens of type-group D Snp I-III datable to the late fifth to early seventh centuries. One of this study’s preliminary conclusions was that the latter group appears to have been more widespread both quantitatively and geographically.

    This raised, among others, the question what was happening prior to the fourth century, and whether a longue durée picture could help to improve our understanding of the role of Sinopean amphorae in the Roman East more generally. This paper therefore aims to present preliminary findings on the distribution of amphorae of type-group B Snp I-III, again presumably mostly of Sinopean manufacture, of the second and third centuries.

  • There are some rare and unique specimens among the approximately 40,000 amphorae stamps, which are in the museum’s depot in Kerc. Their processing has only just begun. In this part are published, among other things, rare specimens from Mende, Akanthos, Rhodes (early types) and its Peraia, Samos, Troas, Chios, Pergamum, Graecia Magna etc. such as previously unknown pieces from Miletus, Cos (coin types), and Pamphylia. In particular, the publications of recent years made it possible to identify the stamps which were previously assigned to the category incertorum locorum.

  • Our study aims to selectively present some amphora type items discovered at Albești during the archaeological campaigns carried out between 2008 and 2019. Amphora stamps, as well as amphora types are be considered. Our selection features novelties, either when referring to new names or new content variants for stamps coming from already known centres (Heracleea Pontica, Thasos, Sinope, Rhodos), or to typologies (and probably new production centres) among the ceramic containers.

    Data provided by new discoveries do not modify our previous observations regarding the evolution of the settlement from Albești in the period comprised between mid-4th and late 3rd century BC, but just complete them.

  • Based on unpublished material from Istros (Romania), this communication will put the importation of Akanthian stamped amphorae in Istros during 5th and 4th centuries in a broader geographical context. Following the hypothesis of Yvon Garlan about the meaning of the Akanthian stamping system, I will explore the question of the circulation of these amphorae along the Western Black sea in relation with their volume indicated by the stamps during the 4th century.

  • Since 2011, archaeological investigations have been carried out by a Bulgarian-French team at a site at some 3 km from the ancient Apollonia Pontica. The site in Mesarite locality emerged as a complex of buildings along a road at some point in the first half of the 5th c. BC and remained in use until the late 4th c., when the buildings were abandoned and replaced by an Early Hellenistic necropolis.

    The paper aims to present the amphora imports from the early period of the site in an attempt to shed light on the chronology of its foundation. The finds from the period include amphorae from Chios, Milet-Samos, Thasos and other North Aegean centres, etc.

  • Recent studies on amphorae found on the lower Danube and western Black Sea coast sites show an increase of the number of transport containers of Tunisian origin, mainly dated from the fifth century CE onwards. Among these finds, particularly interesting are some North African amphorae that, morphologically, are relatively similar to types not so frequently uncovered in the Mediterranean region.

    They mainly consists of types Keay 40 and Sidi Jdidi 14.9, that belong to the group of the cylindrical containers of large dimensions. Some other small types of North African amphorae (Spatheion 1 and 3) are also attested, similarly distributed in the region from the fifth to the seventh century CE.

    We present here the typological characterisation of these amphorae, integrated by the petrographic thin section analysis of some representative samples.

    The aim of this study is to add some fresh information for the reconstruction of trade networks that played a role in the spread of North African products in the Eastern Mediterranean. Some key-questions have been addressed about the reasons that brought North African products along the Black Sea coast and towards the Lower Danube territories to the inner market of Moesia.

    The presence of these amphora types in the analysed region in the fifth and especially in sixth century CE can probably be related to the the quaestura exercitus, a new administrative unit established by Emperor Justinian I to try to solve the problem of providing a regular supply to the Danube limes.

  • Discovered in 1995 in Sector II of the Orgame necropolis, among the finds of the « Herôon », two representative specimens of transport jars, well-dated around 630 BC or so by an associated Ionian cup of Villard A2 type, were submitted to X-ray fluorescence measurements by the Lyon Lab. The data processing of their chemical results have led to a reassessment of their attribution of origin.

    Primarily classified as Chian, current typological attribution at that time for such shapes, these two specimens shortly after proved to be closer to the newly characterized Clazomenian type, an identification closely fitting with the amphora pattern of finds of Clazomenae. Lastly, Lyon lab results have evidenced that only one part of these transport jars of Clazomenian type were produced there, whereas the remaining part appeared ascribable to another seemingly nearby located North-Ionian area rather than centre of manufacture and that it was the case for the two early archaic specimens brought to light from the Orgame Herôon.

    In addition to the results obtained on samples from Black Sea settlements (Orgame, Istros, Berezan, Olbia), particularly informative appeared those illustrated by the range of complete shapes from the earliest Clazomenian necropolis of Abdera, which not only validate the partition between jars of Chian and Clazomenian types, but also put forward a double origin for the latter, splitting into original Clazomenian products and those from another mainland North-Ionian centre of manufacture, the chemical pattern of which preliminary lab results would rather point to nearby Erythrae than to Teos. Such a diversification of wine imports from the same area might well correspond to a hierarchical distinction between expensive vintage wines from Clazomenae and indifferent cheap ones for everyday consumption; this would explain the higher proportion of the latter as evidenced among our representative set of samples.

  • The largest amount and the most diverse variations of Greek graffiti are found in the archaeological context of the cemeteries of the Eastern Black Sea littoral (Kobuleti-Pichvnari, Petra-Tsikhisdziri) of Classical and Hellenistic periods. The inscriptions differ in content (the names of the deities or abbreviated forms of their names, dedication formulas, fertility marks, owners’ names, and numerical designations) and chronology. They are presented on the amphorae imported from different production centers of the Aegean and the Black Sea regions. The material, which contains important information about the processes taking place on the Black Sea littoral in antiquity, has never been the subject of special research.

    The Amphora Graffiti from South-West Georgia

    The epigraphic material of South-West Georgia is inferior to similar material of the Mediterranean or the Black Sea. Although, the largest amount and the most diverse variations of the Greek graffiti are found on the territory of Georgia. This applies to the content (full forms of the names of the deities, abbreviated forms of their names, devotional formulas, fertility marks, owners’ names and numerical designations) and chronological diversity. Greek inscriptions from the classical period are also found in the Colchian cemetery that is especially important and attracts interest. Here are found inscriptions on the amphorae from various production centers.

  • Karabournaki is situated on the coast of the Thermaic Gulf in the north Aegean. It is a settlement of an indigenous population with no evidence of being a colony or a colonial trade station. Yet, the numerous imports suggest that it was a cosmopolitan port during the Archaic period where amphorae and other pottery types from the eastern Aegean indicate imports of wine and olive oil as well as drinking sets.

    Noteworthy is also the presence of imports from mainland Greece, Attic and Corinth. The site comprises a network of dug out pits contain a wide range of finds, including pottery, bones, destroyed cooking facilities, plant remains, the remains of pottery making activities, etc. Other settlement remains are the rectangular and stone-built houses that were partially preserved and dated to the Archaic period.

    The 8th century marks a period of growth and expansion from many aspects of Aegean economies. It seems that the opinion of the “opportunistic” or peripheral trade in the early Archaic transactions contrasts with the abundance of transport amphorae – goods arriving to the trade station in Karabournaki. Along with the amphoras material from Karabournaki, the corresponding material from the neighboring “indigenous” settlements of Thessaloniki Toumpa, Polichni and Sindos will be examine.

  • Despite the progress achieved in recent years regarding the circulation of Pontic wares in the Mediterranean during Late Antiquity, the Aegean Sea region occupies a rather minor place in the relevant scholarship, while northern Greek sites are hardly ever mentioned. In contrast with that, the present paper is concerned with the significant amount of transport amphora finds of a likely or established Black Sea origin yielded at the ancient city of Dion in Macedonia.

    The focus is put on selected contexts datable to the late 3rd and the late 5th first half of the 6th c. CE, the amphora material of which — principally belonging to type Zeest 80, and, secondarily, to the Sinopean type — is examined from various perspectives in an attempt to outline the distribution pattern of amphora-born commodities from Pontus at the city through time.

    In addition to the Dion example, scattered evidence from neighbouring sites has also been assembled with a view to reflect upon the current picture about the presence of Black Sea amphorae in continental Greece and to evaluate the role of data recovery and dissemination bias in its formation.

  • Ephesos was one of the most important commercial points in the whole Mediterranean. Placed in a strategical geographical position the city had an excellent access to the rich economic resources of the inner Anatolian territories, and, surrounded by a fertile territory, was an important production place of all kind of commodities, including marble, agricultural products and pottery.

    At Ephesos arrived products from all the Mediterranean and far elongated regions, being the Black Sea not an exception. In this presentation, it is aimed to summarize the current state of the art concerning the arrival of Black Sea Amphorae at Ephesos. They seem to be attested already in the 2nd cent. CE but recent excavations suggest a clear increase, mainly of Sinopean amphorae, from the late 4th century CE. It could be suggested that from the economic changes developed since the foundation of Constantinople, Ephesos actively acted as a middle point in the routes that linked the new capital and its important supply sources in Cilicia and Egypt, benefiting from the arrival of products from the North and South of the Eastern Mediterranean.

  • Dinogetia was a fortification in the north-western part of the late Roman province Scythia Minor, on a former islet of the Danube. Systematic excavations unearthed a rich collection of objects, including large amounts of pottery of Roman and medieval date, which were selectively published by Gheorghe Ștefan and Ion Barnea. The present contribution introduces a selection of dipinti and graffiti on late Roman amphora fragments, both published and unpublished, with epigraphic commentary and interpretation. Many inscriptions have only a few letters and are harder to read. Those which are legible reveal information about capacities and contents, but also names, Christian invocations, and texts which do not fall in one of the previous categories, including an ostracon in Greek and a short graffito in Gothic runes.

  • Between 2006 and 2010, a German-Russian project led by O. Dally and P. A. Larenok carried out excavations in the Greek settlement of Taganrog west of the Don Delta. Within the framework of the project, about 200 pottery fragments were selected for provenance determination by means of neutron activation analysis (NAA), conducted by H. Mommsen.

    About half of the samples consist of Archaic East Greek transport amphorae. The results of the NAA not only extend the knowledge of already established typologies, but also provided new insights into the production centres in northern Ionia. In the presentation I would like to introduce and discuss the results of the NAA.

  • In the 8th-10th centuries in the medieval Tavrika (Crimean Peninsula) the high level of growth viticulture and winemaking pushed up the production of local amphora wine containers. These vessels are called a North Pontic Amphora or “Prychornomoskaya” amphora. The kilns for their production are localized, and the large ceramic centers such as Choban-Kule and Kanak Balka have been excavated by archaeologists.

    In the last ten years, underwater archaeologists have found and examined row of shipwrecks of the 8th-10th centuries in the water areas of the medieval ports, where North Pontic Amphoras type were found. The analysis of the archaeological material gives a clue to clarify the chronological framework of the existence amphoras local and imported production in this period, the size of ships and their trade routes.

  • A vessel in the museum of Trabzon, Turkey, which can be interpreted as an amphora, is a fortuitous find from the sea. It belongs to a rare type of a globular form with a flat base. According to the few parallels known until now, it can be dated to a late period, probably around the 9th or 10th century. The fabric presents similarities with one of the two fabrics identified in Colchis, which corresponds to southeastern Black Sea. A white slip covers the surface, which is decorated all over by groups of streaks made before firing: horizontal series come across vertical ones, or sometimes oblique ones. The same patterns are present on the lower part preserved from an amphora found in Vani and dated between the late third century and the mid-first century BC. It is also visible on pithoi of the same period from the same site. Surprisingly, these patterns are still used on the pithoi manufactured today in the workshops of Shrosha in Imeriti (Western Georgia), showing an intriguing long-lasting tradition. Another interesting feature of this vessel is the vertical slits marked before firing along the middle of the handles. They are present on other types of amphorae of the late period from various provenances and can be probably interpreted as numerical marks. This vessel could be used for trading the wine between monasteries, be the ones producing and trading wine, or the consuming ones. Its small capacity shows a retail sale, while its flat base let suppose that it was directly used for consumption.

  • The recent archaelogical excavations of two important fortresses existing in the Eastern Black Sea littoral during the Roman and Early Byzantine periods – Gonio-Apsaros and Petra-Tsikhisdziri – revealed number of ceramic material, greatest part of which was represented by amphoras. The studies of the material show that at the end of the first century A.D. and the beginning of the second century A.D., Roman military forces based in Apsaros were mostly supplied from the eastern Mediterranean and western parts of the Roman Empire and from the middle of the second Century A.D. the production of the Southern Black Sea centers dominated. This very situation actually remained in the Early Byzantine period, that is witnessed by Gonio and Tsikhisdziri new discoveries.

  • The cities located in the Eastern Mediterranean coast of Turkey, Roman and at the beginning of the 4th century AD as the Late Roman – Early Byzantine period have been witnessing an intense commercial activity. This process was affected by the Zemer 41, Agora M 54, Pompei V and LR 1 amphorae which are the Region own production. Because of the political events in the relevant era, Eastern Mediterranean cities maintained its commercial activities with many different centres ranging from Italia, Spain, Syria-Palestine to Africa and Egypt and from Aegean to the Black Sea region. The region’s commercial connections with the Black Sea Region during the period from Rome to the Early Byzantine Period are revealed by the Black Sea and Eastern Mediterranean produced amphorae in the cities of both regions. This study will be able to compensate for the shortcomings in distribution maps by documenting the existence of Black Sea amphora forms in the Eastern Mediterranean Region. The presence of Eastern Mediterranean amphorae in the cities of the Black Sea Region will also support these commercial relations and provide researchers with new perspectives in their studies on trade routes.

  • Roman camp and Early-Byzantine city of Novae (Moesia Inferior / Moesia Secunda) on the southern bank of the Danube River was the most important centre on the border of the empire and has been among the most well-studied objects of this type in the area of the Lower Danube. The excavations in the central part of Novae were undertaken within the framework of Polish-Bulgarian scientific research projects. Studies carried out during previous science and research projects related to uncovering the large legionary baths and the bishopric complex in Novae led to the discovery of a monumental armamentarium. After the destruction of the arsenal, a horreum was built on this site in the 4th century AD. The intensification of construction activities in this region was likely associated with the rise to the power of Emperor Constantius II (337– 361), in Constantinople. In the 4th century AD, similar types of horrea appeared in Capidava, Histria (Scythia), Serdica (Dacia Mediterranea). The horreum in Novae, in terms of its architecture and size, is close to the building uncovered in Capidava (Scythia). The design features of these structures indicated that they were intended for storing goods transported in amphorae rather than grain. The emergence of structures of this type in the Roman military fortresses was caused by their new functions.

    Most of the amphorae fragments found in the horreum were manufactured in the region of the Aegean Sea. One of the rare types uncovered in the building belongs to Сylindrical Aegean 1/Athenian Agora P 8164 amphorae type. The vessel with a complete profile has not been discovered in Novae. A. Opait suggests that the dimensions and capacity decrease from the early to the late Roman period. Due to a few analogies, we can restore the full vessel form of the 3rd-4th centuries AD. The amphorae have a body that narrows into a more cylindrical shape and ends in a tubular spike with a flat tip. During the 4th century AD, these cylindrical amphorae were still exported. The body continues to be cylindrical with wheel traces. The later examples were slimmer and dated to the end of the 4th century or even the beginning of the 5th century AD. Another rare type belongs to Cretan amphorae of the st to 4th century AD used for the transport of wine.

  • Between 1967 and 1983 a large building covering the area of about 450 square meters was excavated in the central part of Hermonassa, it consisted of an open courtyard, restricted by a roofed gallery on one side and a group of rectangular rooms on the other sides. Analysis of the archeological material gives us grounds to date the construction of the building to the first half of the fourth century BC and its demolition by fire to the middle of the third century BC. Among the findings we can highlight particular fragments of Oinochoe with rectangular stamps on the body. Prominent inscription in the legend consists of two rows with personal names and the title of agoranome. The rows are limited by the horizontal lines above, below and in between, which is very similar in style to the tile stamps of the first half of the third century BC, produced in the Asian Bosporus. Oinochoe have been produced from the local clay; however, they differ in morphology and metric parameters. Those findings, as well as other discovered fragments of panathenian amphora, lead us to suppose the public purpose of the construction complex.

  • Amphoras variously classified as Ionian, Samian, Milesian, and Protothasian are among the most common types found at Pontic sites of the 6th and 5th centuries B.C. Since the early 1980s Pierre Dupont has wrestled with the problem of defining their production centers. Many different producers are now known including Miletos, Ephesos, Samos, Chios, Erythrai, Teos, Kos, and Thasos. As Dupont observes, however, much uncertainty remains.

    Indeed, applying these changing and developing research results is challenging in the field when attempting to make sense of countless sherds and their place in the broader history of ancient trade and economies. Is it better to be over-precise in guessing identifications or aim for the more secure, lowest common denominator? Is the individual city the necessary unit of analysis? These are not only questions of practicality (though they are that, too) but also questions of how we conceive of Archaic amphora production, filling and shipping.

  • According to Pliny (N.H.), Apollodorus of Alexandria, a physician and most probably physician of Ptolemy, “laudavit in Ponto Naspercenite”, praised in the Black Sea the Naspercenite wine. The aim of this presentation is to locate the origin of this wine and to investigate the association between the wine of Naspercene and its supply in Sinopean amphorae to the Ptolemaic court in the 3rd c. BC. The role of imported wines from Sinope and its chora on the Egyptian market during the Graeco-Roman period is testified by number of amphorae found in Egypt. This lecture seeks to trace the supply and demand, as well as the ways of distribution of this specific wine.

  • This paper presents a small collection of about 30 amphora stamps from the first half of the 4th century BC discovered during the excavations of a pit field at Malenovo, Yambol Region in Southeastern Bulgaria. Most of the stamps are englyphic, of the type traditionally assumed to have been placed on amphorae fabricated in Heraclea. The site on which the stamps were found is located only some 45 km from the synchronous site Kostadin cheshma at Debelt. near the Black Sea coast, where ca. 1500 amphora stamps came to light. Many of the stamps from Malenovo have exact parallels at Debelt which is a clear indication about the route which merchants used to transport amphoras to the interior of Thrace. The Malenovo group is chronologically homogeneous and thus permits also a discussion of some problems pertaining to the dating of englyphic stamps.

  • Tyras located at the intersection of trade routes connecting it with Lower Dniester barbaric tribes, ancient centers and Roman provincial cities. At the turn of the 1st century AD this city established trade relations with Heraclea Pontica, and as a result Tyras have begun to receive wine, first in amphorae of variant Vnukov S Ia and type S II, and later in variants S Ib and S IVA. In the first half of the 1st century AD an Italian wine was imported in a small scale in Dressel 6А amphorae.

    During this century trade and economic relations have been maintained with the Eastern Mediterranean production centers, from where the olive oil was imported (Dressel 24) and the wine (Camulodunum 184). At this time trade contacts was sporadic. In the last third of the 1st century AD, after inclusion of Tyras in the sphere of influence of the Roman Empire, their intensity increased.

  • In 1999-2001, large-scale research of the Maeotian necropolis “Prikubanskiy” near the city of Krasnodar was conducted. The material covers the period from the turn of the 5-4th centuries BC to the beginning of the 3rd century BC. As a result of the excavations, almost 350 amphorae of different production centers were found. More than 70 of them are referred to the Mendean production. It is important that in some cases, Mendean containers were discovered together with stamped Heraclean or Thasian jars, as well as with black-glazed pottery wares. Providing narrowly dated complexes, it enables to monitor the changes in forms of the Mendean amphorae over the first three quarters of the 4th century BC. The problem of the localization of the different groups of containers (the possibility of production are Mende, Akanthos, Kos, etc.) is beyond the scope of the report.

  • In the Foros and Novy Svet waters, off the Crimean south coast, underwater archaeologists found and investigated two shipwrecks of the Byzantine period. This communication is devoted to one specific and rare type of amphorae found in the shipwrecks’ amphorae assemblage, namely to the vessels classified by N. Gunsenin as the intermediate type I-III. It is rarely found at Byzantine archaeological sites, including underwater ones in the Mediterranean and Black seas basin. The specific feature of two shipwrecks in question is that the Günsenin I-III amphorae has been found in assemblage with Günsenin IV and XXII ones in the closed deposit of the shipwreck context. In the presentation the questions about dating, provenance and typological classification will be discussed.

  • Recently, a pottery assemblage retrieved on the beach or in the water off Gura Portiței (12.5 km SE from Jurilovca, Tulcea district, on the Black Sea coastline) entered in the Museum from Tulcea collections. Most are narrow neck light clay amphorae, mainly SinIVC1-C2, including a series of specimens bearing stamps. The narrow-neck light-clay amphorae extend over a vast areas in the Pontus Euxinus, and a large number of specimens were discovered. Therefore, we have all the prerequisites to hold a series of stamps and dipinti illuminate their contents, producers, and other details. Although there are a relatively large number of stamps, their repertoire is scanty. Over the years, scholars suggested that the letters stamped on these amphorae represent specific batches, the abbreviated form of the producers’ names or the transport series. Among the various stamps from the Portița assemblage, the commonest are the letters that correspond to numbers.

    This paper will focus on the meaning of the stamps on the light-clay amphorae retrieved at Portița inlet (onshore and offshore). Another aim is to explore the morphodynamics of this strategic coastal inlet in the first centuries AD and to position the long-distance links to Dobruja (north-east of Moesia Inferior province) within wider networks of Pontic seaborne trade.

  • Underwater archaeology research projects have been carried out since 2000 at the coast of Antalya and since 2015 at the coast of Mersin. 287 shipwrecks such as Kumluca Bronze Age copper ingot wreck which is dated to 16th-15th Century BC or wrecks of Ottoman trade ships have been found during these underwater survey projects. These wrecks and many other archaeological remains include Bronze Age stone anchors, Iron Age stone stocks of wooden anchors and later periods’ iron anchors also found during the survey. All these remains show that this part of the Mediterranean was very active since the Bronze Age in the frame of international trade. Mentioned wrecks loaded with amphorae from different periods are dated 7th Century BC to the 12th Century AD. 44 of these wrecks are Late Roman Cilicia Type 6B (LR1B) and 8 of them are Cilicia Type 6A (LR1A) which were also seen in many different regions of the Black Sea. In this symposium, Black Sea amphorae such as possible Sinope productions that have been found during the research projects will be presented.

  • A favorite amphora shape beginning in the 4th century AD, the so-called carrot amphora, is well documented in the Sinope area. A second subtype, with its red fabric rich in iron nodules and covered sometimes by a whitish slip, has been already pointed out by the author in previous papers. However, a third carrot subtype has been found in a different fabric. Although this also has iron nuclei, their quartz, black and brownish inclusions predominate, and they exhibit reduced quantities of pyroxene, the color is beige-brownish, and it is covered by dark beige-brownish paint. An origin in Heraclea is not excluded, especially as an imitation of a Pseudo Coan amphora, and of an amphora type Shelov B, both made in the above-mentioned fabric, have been found at Histria and Dinogetia. Although it does not compete with the well-known Heraclean types of the Shelov F series, this amphora maintains a constant presence on the northern and western Pontic shores and reaches even Athens, Limyra, and Gaza. This amphora type brings new information about the large variety of wine produced at Heraclea.

  • The authors of the presentation discuss the amphorae material discovered at Halmyris – Murighiol, Tulcea County, in the last two decades. The amphorae appears to us like a compact batch that can be divided, in a first stage, into two groups based exclusively on the chronological criterion. Unlike the previously published batches, the following material we aim to examine is much more diverse from a chronological and typological point of view, but also from the perspective of its production areas. We can observe the presence in a high percentage of the amphorae that can be dated chronologically during the 2nd-3rd centuries AD, nevertheless the existence of some rarely types of amphorae found in the province of Moesia Inferior, such as Robinsion 1959 type M 54, Fish table amphora, Opaiț, Ionescu 2016 type 3 etc.

    The second Roman-Byzantine group of amphorae is characterized by the presence of types of amphorae, well known for this chronological segment, such as LRA1, LRA2, LRA4 and North African – Keay XXV, Spatheia etc.

    In terms of percentage and with a focus on the production areas, amphorae made in the Oriental part of the Empire is clearly predominat, followed by those produced in the Pontic region, in order to hierarchically place the containers from the North African area, with the lowest presence. The main products transported are wine, oil and fish products (in small quantities), mainly from the northern Black Sea.

    Their presence in the center of Halmyris confirms, on the one hand, the importance of the fortress during the 2nd-6th centuries AD, but on the other hand the commercial connections maintained by the province through the fortress of Murighiol, with the other parts of the Empire.

  • Recent underwater excavations for the Crimean bridge highway project (2015-2017) revealed a new ceramic cluster which had been moved towards the Ak-Burun cape obviously as a result of the Kerch (Pantikapaion) harbor’s dredging in the 1970s. The most numerous finds are dated to the Hellenistic period while only 203 fragments of the Late Roman amphorae were found there. The imported finds mostly of the first half of the 6th century predominate among all Late Roman amphorae. The amphorae of Antonova 5 (75 frs.) and LR 1 (64 frs.) (all identified profile sherds belong to the LR 1B variant) make up about 68,4%. Sinopean amphorae C Snp I/Zeest 100 also account for a considerable share of the finds (32 frs., about 15,8 %). Other amphorae types (LR 2, LR 3, TRC 4, TRC 6, Vnukov С IVF, C IVE and Ch ID) are represented by only isolated finds. It is important to note that around 55,2% of the LR amphorae preserved traces of a resin lining on the interior.

  • The Ionian colony of Abdera was one of the major ancient cities in the north Aegean, and the existence of transport amphora production there has long been suspected but has never been tested archaeologically. Abdera is considered a possible place of production of the so-called Protothasian amphoras, which were heavily exported to the Black Sea area during the late 6th–early 5th century BC. Stamps on amphora handles depicting a griffin – one of Abdera’s coin types – suggest local production in later periods, but the shapes and chronology of these amphoras have been an enigma. Since 2015, a programme for intensive field survey in ancient Abdera and its territory (Archaeological Project of Abdera and Xanthi/ APAX) has yielded rich and detailed data about amphora distribution in the area, including of several potentially local amphora types. Of particular interest are newly identified Abderan stamp types and evidence of overfired production waste and kiln spacers, which help us localize a potential workshop area, and recognize local shapes and fabrics of the late 4th–early 3rd century BC.

  • Max Fiederling´s PhD project focuses on the archaeological analysis of the Roman shipwreck Portiței A, which was researched from March 2016 until 2018 as part of a cooperation project between the Bavarian Society for Underwater Archeology and the Institutul de Cercetări Eco-Muzeale Tulcea.

    Analysing the shipbuilding technique and studying the cargo of the wreck are the primary goals of this project. Further goals included tracing back the origin of the ship, its last route as well as reconstructing the average.

    The wreck site is of outstanding archaeological importance, due to its exceptional preservation status.

    In contrast to previous, spectacular discoveries of antique wreck sites in the Black Sea, which were located during research campaigns of Robert Ballard and the MAP project, the wreck of Portiței A lies in shallow waters.

    Due to its positioning, the researchers were able to fully prospect the wreck site with non-invasive digital methods and also to excavate parts of the wreck to gain more detailed knowledge as well as taking samples for further scientific analyses. The aim is to further our knowledge of region-specific shipbuilding techniques, Roman trade routes as well as economic interchange in the Black Sea at the time.

    A further focus of the research lies on objects which have not always received the researcher’s attention such as ballast material, microscopical botanical remains as well as faunal remains.

    The mid-size Roman merchant ship was identified as one of the first in situ preserved empties transporters of its time, which raises further questions about the trade network and the economic structures in the Roman period in this specific region.