Compositional Analysis of Roman and Late Medieval Terracotta Figurines found in Worms (antique Borbetomagus)


Nondestructive XRF was used to provenance Roman and 15th century molded figurines found in Worms, Rhineland-Palatinate (Germany). Three Roman kiln areas with waster material of various kinds of cooking and dining pottery were detected, but no coroplastics. Two kiln areas provided sherds with a highly uniform paste pattern identical to Roman amphora and roof tiles formerly analyzed by destructive WD-XRF, and supposed to be produced in Borbetomagus. A third kiln additionally contained utilitarian pottery fragments of a distinct pattern, which could be identified with pottery and clays from Urmitz-Weissenthurm located some 130 km down the Rhine River, probably a domestic fill when the third workshop was shut down. Only one out of 14 Roman figurines exhibits the local paste pattern of the utilitarian pottery. It is an orange-fired single, whereas the other figurines were molded with a whitish paste similar in pattern with pottery from Speicher, near Trier (Augusta Treverorum), and from Koeln (Colonia Claudia Ara Agrippinensium). The late medieval molded figurines are production wasters of a workshop located in the center of Worms. The source of the special white-firing "pipe clay" is unknown, but compositionally similar to clayey kaolinitic sands in Tertiary lacustrine deposits in the nearby Palatinate Forest.

Cite this Record

Compositional Analysis of Roman and Late Medieval Terracotta Figurines found in Worms (antique Borbetomagus). Detlef Wilke, Tuende Kaszab-Olschewski, Gerald Grimm. Presented at The 81st Annual Meeting of the Society for American Archaeology, Vancouver, British Columbia. 2017 ( tDAR id: 429056)

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Spatial Coverage

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

Record Identifiers

Abstract Id(s): 15023