Palatine East Pottery Project (PEPP)

Project Overview

The Palatine East Pottery Project , or PEPP, is a long-term research program that involves the study and publication of the Roman-period pottery assemblage recovered in the course of the Palatine East Excavations, a colloborative project between the Soprintendenza Archeologica di Roma and the American Academy in Rome

J. Theodore Peña (JTP) (University of California, Berkeley) serves as Director of PEPP and Victor M. Martínez (VMM) (Arkansas State University) and Janne P. Ikäheimo (JPI) (Oulu University, Finland) as Associate Directors.  

The project involves the characterization of ca. 20 metric tons of pottery recovered in contexts deposited from the first century CE to the fifth or sixth century CE in and around a fountain of the first century AD and a vaulted structure in brick-faced concrete - perhaps a townhouse - built in the third century CE at the foot of the northeast slope of the Palatine Hill in downtown Rome.  This material provides important evidence for the provision of craft goods and foodstuffs to the city of Rome and for aspects production, distribution and consumption across much of the Roman world for nearly the entire imperial period.

The approach to the study and publication of this material involves several noteworthy elements that will make it of interest to students of Roman pottery:

the definition of fabrics on the basis of a systematic consideration of raw materials and processing techniques

the definition of classes (wares) on the basis of a systematic consideration of fabrics

the definition of vessel forms and variants on the basis of a systematic consideration of forming and other manufacturing operations

the determination of form and vessel function/use on the basis of a systematic consideration of use alterations

the conduct of extensive programs of mineralogical (optical microscopy, petrography) and chemical (neutron activation, x-ray fluorescence) analysis for the characterization of fabrics and the determination of class provenience

the quantification of contexts by four traditional measures (count, weight, number of vessels represented, vessel equivalents) and two innovative measures (manufacturing cost and [for amphoras] vessel capacity) employing a set of explictly defined and systematically applied methods

the on-line presentation of the basic project data employing various innovative techniques, including a data visualization tool based on the site's Harris matrix.

The primary data for the assemblage is in the process of being migrated onto RES ROMANAE.  

The project directors also intend to produce a monograph-length set of interpretive essays relating to the Palatine East Roman-period pottery assemblage, publishing this in on-line, open source format.


The presentation of PEPP on RES ROMANAE consists of the following pages:

Program of Work: A short text that describes the history of PEPP and indicates the composition of the project team for each of its study seasons.

Authorization, Assistance and Support: A short text that indicates tha authorization under which PEPP has operated and acknowledges the various entities and persons that/who provided logistical, scientific, and/or financial support to the project.

Palatine East Site and Excavations: A text of medium length that provides a general overview of the Palatine East site and the program of excavations carried out there.

Pottery Assemblage Data: This page presents the project's results on various sub-pages in the form of various texts, databases, drawings, photographs, and photomicrographs.  Material is being migrated onto this page on a rolling basis as it is made ready for presentation.

Sources Cited: A listing of the various published and on-line sources cited in the preceding pages.

Products - Data:  This page will present links to downloadable versions of much of the material presented on the Pottery Assemblage Data page.

Products - Other: A list of various publications and presentations relating to PEPP and research tools developed in the context of the project, with links to downloadable versions of many of these.