Ceramic Production

Mark Jackson and Kevin Greene

in The Oxford Handbook of Engineering and Technology in the Classical World

Published in print December 2009 | ISBN: 9780199734856
Published online September 2012 | | DOI:

Series: Oxford Handbooks

Ceramic Production

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  • Classical Studies
  • Greek and Roman Archaeology
  • Historical Archaeology



Applying the labels “Greek” and “Roman” to the study of ceramic technology from 700 bc to ad 500 involves profound problems of cultural labeling. The study of Greek and Roman ceramics carries a major historiographical burden in addition to cultural complexity. Greek vases gave rise to a perception of Greek painted pottery as the artistic and economic equivalent of expensive porcelain. Discussion of differing social and economic perceptions of Greek and Roman ceramics is not an abstract exercise. The clay preparation and pottery forming, firing methods, surface finishes and decoration are described in this article. The intertwining of history, culture, economics, production, and consumption is particularly clearly demonstrated by an examination of Greek and Roman pottery. The mass production, diversity, and wide diffusion of Greek and Roman ceramics coexisted with technological stability.

Keywords: Greek ceramics; Roman ceramics; Greek vases; clay; Greek pottery; Roman pottery; firing; surface finishes; decoration

Article.  10556 words. 

Subjects: Classical Studies ; Greek and Roman Archaeology ; Historical Archaeology

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