Project

Code Red. A key to the re-classification of African Red Slip Ware

Duration
01 October 2021 → Ongoing
Funding
Regional and community funding: Special Research Fund
Research disciplines
  • Humanities
    • Classical archaeology
    • Economic archaeology
    • Material culture studies
    • Methods in archaeology
Keywords
African Red Slip Ware ARS classification provenance studies
 
Project description

African Red Slip Ware (ARS) was produced from the 1st to the 7th century AD in the Roman provinces of modern-day Tunisia, Algeria, and Libya, and exported to the whole Mediterranean on a massive scale. Its abundance at innumerable archaeological sites has led to a vast diversity of approaches. Whereas it is commonly clear which sherd is ARS and which is not, the detailed classification of ARS is still controversially discussed, thus, complicating the interpretation of ARS finds both in terms of chronology and provenance as well as the reconstruction of trading networks. Most disagreement centers on the division of ARS into the traditional classes A, C, and D and their consistency and applicability in archaeological practice. Originally, they were created as a typo-chronological system to detect general changes in ARS production. The classes were not meant to define the exact origin but were later used and further developed to do so. The excessive extension and subgrouping of the classes with vague verbalized descriptions have become cryptic and inadequate to serve as sorting categories and communication tools. The need for a revision has been frequently expressed. This study will take the lead from this expressed need by focusing on a coherent characterization of ARS according to individual workshops and establishing a multilevel (re-)classification that can be the key to a higher degree of standardization and consistency in determining different ARS productions.