Wednesday, January 07, 2009

AJA 113.1

The latest issue of the American Journal of Archaeology (113.1, 2009) is out, and it's chock full of good stuff. Three articles pertain to Italian pottery of the 5th through 1st centuries BCE. First and foremost for the purview of Tria Corda is T.H. Carpenter's "Prolegomenon to the Study of Apulian Red-Figure Pottery" (39-56; Abstract), in my opinion a must-read.

Carpenter's analysis offers a fresh alternative to the (art historical) orthodoxy represented by the work of the late A.D. Trendall, and places the vases back into their "native" context—at least as far as possible for an object class that has suffered so much from looting: "To use the term 'Hellenized' for [the Italic] people, who had been trading with the Greeks for several hundred years, is meaningless unless the specific meaning is that they were Hellenized in the same sense that mainland Greeks were orientalized in the seventh century" (p.36). Recent scholarly activity has gone far in overturning colonial ideologies both ancient and modern, e.g. in the work of Edward Herring (for a good introduction to current trends, see his "Daunians, Peucetians and Messapians? Societies and Settlements in South-East Italy," in Bradley, Isayev & Riva, (eds.), Ancient Italy: Regions without Boundaries, Exeter 2007, 268-294); that such a well-known class of artifact had escaped such treatment up to now may be a function of the eminence of Trendall in the field. Carpenter also dissociates Taranto from its traditional role as producer of or major influence on Apulian vases, especially with regard to theatrical scenes, and refutes the notion that some scenes on Apulian vases represent images from "Orphic" religion.

Elsewhere, J. Theodore Peña and Myles McCallum discuss evidence for both the pre-Roman and Roman phases of the city in "The Production and Distribution of Pottery at Pompeii: A Review of the Evidence; Part 1, Production" (57-79; Abstract). Notable is the evidence for a Black Gloss Ware pottery production facility dating before the 2nd half of the 2nd century BCE, in the Vicolo Storto Nuovo.

Roman Roth—whose dissertation, published as Styling Romanisation: Pottery and Society in Central Italy (Cambridge 2007), treated Black Gloss Ware in Volterra and Capena—discusses the social implications of the replication of specific ceramic urn shapes in stone during the 2nd century BCE in "From Clay to Stone: Monumentality and Traditionalism in Volterran Urns" (39-56; Abstract).

élène Verreyke and Frank Vermeulen report on some results of the Potenza Valley Survey Project in "Tracing Late Roman Rural Occupation in Adriatic Central Italy" (103-120; Abstract), in a region (Picenum) better known for its Iron Age inhabitants.

Nothing explicitly to do with either pottery or Italy, but Stephen V. Tracy and Constantin Papaodysseus' note on "The Study of Hands on Greek Inscriptions: The Need for a Digital Approach" (99-102; Abstract) is very exciting--it means that we can soon replace epigraphists with computers... but seriously, this technique has a lot of potential. I wonder if it could be used to compare the work of known forgers with doubtful inscriptions?

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