Apolline Project

illuminating the dark side of Vesuvius

Study the Roman Pottery


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We have several different types of pottery courses that draw on our finds from the bath complex at Pollena Trocchia. First, we have an introductory two-week course that combines elements of both pottery study and restoration (July 02-13; August 20-31). If you are interested in a more in-depth training experience, we also have courses focusing solely on pottery study for two weeks (June 18-29).


The Roman Villa with Baths in Pollena Trocchia


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The site of Pollena Trocchia centres on a post-AD 79 bathhouse which seems likely to be part of a larger villa complex. The site was subsequently buried by another eruption – that of AD 472. Having been preserved by numerous volcanic eruptions the site gives a fascinating opportunity to investigate a wide spectrum of evidence across a range of disciplines. The masonry at the site remains as do rarer and more delicate remnants of the past. Bioarchaeological highlights include not only human skeletal remains but more fragile specimens – such as carbonised leaves – which enable us to build up a picture of what the local natural environment was like while people were living and working at the site. The Apolline Project aims to place this site into the wider archaeological landscape of the area to give further insights into the hidden past of this beautiful and until now archaeologically neglected region. If you want to know more about the site of Pollena Trocchia, visit this page and the others in the same section.

Pottery studies


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Pottery is the most abundant archeological material discovered during excavations and it plays a fundamental role in dating archeological contexts, since shapes and styles change over time, as well as in establishing the ancient trade patterns.
The sizeable ceramic assemblage from the Roman villa with baths in Pollena Trocchia offers a comprehensive picture of imported and local pottery circulating in Campania in Late Antiquity. Furthermore, the variety of classes and shapes represents a useful didactic dataset to challenge students in identifying and drawing sherds.


Course Objectives
Students will learn the fundamental skills to process any ceramic assemblage from the washing and marking, to the different methods of drawing pottery; students will become familiar with the different pottery classes attested to late antique Campania. In general, days will begin with a formal lecture (1-2.5 hours) pertaining to one specific area in Roman pottery. Students will then apply what they have learned in practical, hands-on exercises following the formal lesson.
Lesson Plan (subject to change and adjustment)
10 work days - 68 hours course

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Day 1
Lesson: Introduction to the course and the workshop activities
Practical: Finds’ cleaning and marking
Practical: Division of the pottery into classes

Day 2
Lesson: The pottery production: raw materials, forming, firing
Practical: Pottery marking
Practical: Division of the pottery into classes

Day 3
Lesson: The cooking ware: local productions and imports
Practical: Pottery marking and analysis of the fabrics
Practical: Division of the pottery into classes
Practical: Fill in the chart of archaeological materials (TMA)

Day 4
Lesson: Tableware and storage: local productions and imports
Practical: Pottery marking
Practical: Division of the pottery into classes and use of the Munsell colour chart
Practical: Fill in the chart of archaeological materials (TMA)

Day 5
Lesson: Pottery drawing
Practical: Division of the pottery into classes
Practical: Fill in the chart of archaeological materials (TMA)
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Practical: Pottery drawing

Day 6
Practical: Fill in the chart of archaeological materials (TMA)
Practical: Pottery drawing
Test

Day 7
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Lesson: The African red slip ware (ARS)
Practical: Sorting subclasses and shapes of the ARS
Practical: Include the ARS in the chart of archaeological materials (TMA)
Practical: Drawing of the ARS
Test on ARS

Day 8
Lesson: The African cooking ware
Practical: Sorting the shapes of the African cooking ware
Practical: Include the African cooking ware in the chart of archaeological materials (TMA)
Practical: Drawing of the African cooking ware
Test on the African cooking ware

Day 9
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Lesson: The late antique lamps: local productions and imports
Practical: Identify lamps
Practical: Include the lamps in the chart of archaeological materials (TMA)
Practical: Drawing lamps
Test on the lamps

Day 10
Lesson: Data management and database
Practical: Fill in the forms for the archaeological finds (RA)
Final test

Mixed courses on pottery study and restoration
The mixed courses on pottery study and restoration are meant as general introduction to the study of Roman pottery and its restoration.
Please note that program may change according to the needs and requests of the participants.

Taking part


The Summer classes run from the 18th of June to the 31st of August and are arranged in these time-blocks and prices:
  • from June 18th to June 29th (study): 400EUR;
  • from July 2nd to July 13th (study+restoration): 400EUR;
  • from July 30th to August 10th (study+restoration): 400EUR;
  • from August 20th to August 31st (study+restoration): 400EUR.
The contribution includes all tuition and accommodation in our dig house in Pollena Trocchia. Those who apply will find out if they have been successful within three weeks of their application. Beyond this the Apolline Project does not charge, and students will need to cover their own living costs and travel to Italy. We can collect you from the airport; pickup will be arranged once successful applicants have confirmed their participation. Academic credit can be provided upon request and negotiation with your host institution. For some universities this may cost extra depending upon the policy of your particular institution.
The majority of participants are undergraduate and post-graduate university students, with many coming from prestigious institutions such as Oxford, Cambridge, Harvard and Columbia. Please consider that places are limited and the number of applicants is generally pretty high (150 in 2012), therefore we encourage you to submit your application earlier rather than later.



Application process


The application process is easy and straightforward. Please follow this link and complete the electronic application.

To know more:



Nota Bene: if you have landed directly in this webpage, you might want to take a look at our other activities here.