The east coast of the Adriatic region was always of great strategic interest, both during the Greek as well as the Roman period. The region was an important economic zone and trading hub, as well as a melting pot of diverse cultures – a fact that is reflected in the spectrum of ceramics.
Within the framework of a number of research trips between 2018 and 2019, the ceramic evidence from a variety of find-sites in Croatia and Montenegro could be examined. A large proportion of imported pottery is apparent in this region.
The majority of the pottery that has been examined originates from the necropoleis of Budva. For the Hellenistic period, in addition to imports from southern Italy (Gnathian ware), relief beakers and white-ground ceramics from Asia Minor are noteworthy. In the imperial period as well, scattered imports from the eastern Mediterranean (Eastern Sigillata B, cooking wares) can be observed. Their appearance should be addressed in future projects under the general aspect of eastern Mediterranean imports.
A second focal point of the investigation are finds from central Dalmatia/Croatia: since 2018 the project Trogir Through Time is dedicated to the diachronic and interdisciplinary study of ancient Tragurion/Tragurium and its hinterland. The analysis of the ceramic materials from the excavations reveals that in the Roman and Late Antique periods, imports primarily from North Africa and the eastern Mediterranean dominated. In addition to the high proportion of African Red Slip Ware (ARS) and Eastern Sigillata B (ESB), the frequent appearance of Pontic Sigillata must be emphasized, providing evidence that Trogir also enjoyed (trading) contacts with the Black Sea region.
In 2019 the ceramic picture of finds from the island of Hvar could be expanded. The material investigated from the depot of the Hvar Heritage Museum and the excavation company Kantharos d.o.o. concerns finds from excavations at Soline and Hvar as well as from a shipwreck that was salvaged in 1980 in the vicinity of Hvar (Izmetište). Here, too, the dominance of imports from North Africa and the eastern Mediterranean is apparent, both in fine wares as well as in the spectrum of amphorae.
Of particular interest was the identification of selected vessels from the ship’s cargo. Here the large proportion of plates and bowls of the latest ESB production stands out in particular. In spite of their poorer quality in comparison to earlier ESB products, these vessels apparently still found broad distribution and demonstrate the popularity of the later production series of this tableware, also beyond the regional market. Furthermore, the considerable amount of so-called Aegean cooking wares from the area of Phokaia is also noteworthy. These ceramic finds should be addressed in type-specific studies.