Tinker, Tailor, Soldier… Potter? Roman Legionary Ceramic Production and its Organization

Author(s): Elizabeth Murphy

Year: 2015


One of the most iconic images of the Roman Empire was and is that of the Legions, citizen-warriors clad in shiny lorica segmentata and with gladius in-hand. These soldiers were however skilled not only in the art of war, but also in crafts and trades – supplying and supporting the operations of the Roman imperial military through their daily activities. One such industry about which we have relatively extensive evidence is ceramic production (of tile, brick, and pottery). While most ceramic production in the Roman period has been attributed to private investment, semi-permanent sites of production directly associated with military activities have also been identified. Such legionary production sites present unusual features in terms of their organization of the manufacturing process and its skilled labor, which offer insights into wider questions concerning imperial interests and crafts production. This paper investigates the spatial organization of Roman (AD 50 – 250) legionary ceramic production sites, assessing the extent to which the scale and organization of production were influenced by and integrated into larger military and imperial structures of the period.

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Cite this Record

Tinker, Tailor, Soldier… Potter? Roman Legionary Ceramic Production and its Organization. Elizabeth Murphy. Presented at The 80th Annual Meeting of the Society for American Archaeology, San Francisco, California. 2015 ( tDAR id: 395578)


Geographic Keywords

Spatial Coverage

min long: -11.074; min lat: 37.44 ; max long: 50.098; max lat: 70.845 ;