The Lessons of Gaulish Sigillata and Other Finewares

In: Local Economies?


Terra sigillata production in Gaul provides us with an excellent opportunity to examine the evolution of one particular form of inland production and trade from the 1st to the 3rd c. A.D. A number of notable centres of production were located in inland, rather than coastal, locations. Firstly, this suggests that fineware production and trade were sufficiently profitable to counterbalance the relatively high costs of inland transport systems, including both land and riverine transport. Secondly, fine pottery has been assumed to be proxy evidence for the transport of other, bulkier and higher value, goods. The production and distribution patterns of fine pottery in inland regions suggest that trade routes were more complex than a transfer of products from a single origin to their destination across the sea. Thirdly, the evolution from a wide-ranging, multi-directional distribution of 1st c. A.D. terra sigillata to a more restricted distribution of later Gaulish finewares may cast light on broader economic changes from the 3rd c. A.D., particularly in comparison with other regions of the empire.

Local Economies?

Production and Exchange of Inland Regions in Late Antiquity


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