Archaeology and Archaeometry of a Group of North African Amphorae from the Black Sea and Lower Danube Areas
Diana Dobreva, Claudio Capelli
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.