The commercial and cultural links between the West-Pontic region and the Aegean basin date well before the appearance of ESB tableware. In this article is analysed the presence of this type of pottery in the Western Black Sea. In the period between the 1st and 3rd centuries AD, in this region was recorded 14 forms specific of workshops from Western Asia Minor. In archaeological sites from the Black Sea coast this type of ceramics is encountered in a larger proportion than in the inland settlements. Troesmis on the Danube line is a settlement where a significant amount of ESB has been discovered.
western Black Sea
The late Roman fine pottery presented in this article was discovered after the archaeological research carried out in the late Roman fortress of Argamum between 1998 and 2001, in the Basilica 2 and Basilica 1 areas, by F. Topoleanu and I. Vizauer. A sample of 84 ceramic fragments was analysed, the typology being based on the geographical area of origin. The 84 shards were divided into three groups: North African pottery, wares made in Asia Minor and wares produced in the Black Sea Basin. The present article represents a first step in the knowledge of Argamum’s archaeological realities, both from the perspective of tableware and the historical evolution of the site, especially during the last two centuries of its existence.
From the analyses of the table pottery sample found in the X research area on the archaeological site Slava Rusă, it result that the pottery centre with the most vessels (23 fragments of pottery) is represented by the Phocaean workshops from western Asia Minor. This situation is not surprising, being encountered on the other research areas in Ibida but also in other Roman-Byzantine sites in Dobrudja. Noteworthy in the X research area is that all the Phocaean pottery can be framed in a time interval not exceeding a century (second half of the 5th century and first half of the 6th century). The identified forms are only two: Hayes Form 3 with some of the versions and Hayes Form 8. We can notice that the first forms of Phocaean workshops are absent (Hayes Form 1, 2 and the A version of the 3rd Hayes Form); that would be covered the second half of the 4th century and the first half of the 5th century. The Phocaean bowls (Hayes 10 Form); specific to the second half of the 6th and the beginning of the next century are absent, too. The African workshops are certified by the presence of five pieces, each belonging to a different form. Beside the forms already attested in Dobrudja (Hayes 82, 87, 91 and 104), this research area offered another two forms: Hayes 70 and 71, for which there are no analogies in the West-Pontic area. These forms date from the late 4th century and the first half of the 6th century (Hayes 104 Form, version C). In terms of quantity, North-African tableware ranges within the limits already known for the contemporary sites within the region. As for the pottery produced in the Black Sea basin—identified by four ceramic fragments—it also ranges within the limits known at Ibida from the analyses of the Extra Muros Vest III research area. The identified forms have analogies in settlements in both the North Black Sea basin and the North of modern Turkey. Unidentified pottery, probably belonging to other subsequent ages (like the medieval ceramic fragment), may mean that the existing archaeological situation was disrupted by other subsequent interventions after the abandonment of the fortification system at Slava Rusă. Besides the modern intervention, a medieval settlement may have also existed, also certified in the Curtina G research area. Further analysis of other material categories from the X research Area, plus comparing data with those obtained by studying the table ware sample, will provide more complete information about the chronology and functionality of the archaeological complex identified in the mentioned research area from (L) Ibida.