“Barbotine” Ceramic Ware in Roman Egypt: Diffusion and the Problem of Attribution

Malykh Svetlana E.

Ceramic vessels with “Barbotine” decoration were found in several parts of Egypt (Giza, Alexandria, Naucratis, Sais, Tell el-Maskhuta, Memphis, Tebtynis, Deir el-Bersha, Coptos, Mons Claudianus, Elephantine and Aswan) and in Nubia. This decoration style was characteristic originally for Italian pottery of the Early Roman Empire, and later (in I–III centuries AD) it was reproduced in Roman provinces, mainly in Gaul, Britain and Germania. The analysis of clay fabric, shape and decorating features of Barbotine pottery from Egypt and Nubia allows to conclude that in this region there existed vessels of Aswan production (Aswan Barbotine ware), but Italic and Gaulish Barbotine ceramics were found mainly in Alexandria, the capital of the Roman province of Egypt. Aswan Barbotine ware differs from the imported samples not only in clay, but in a simpler style, motifs and manufacture of decoration.

Keywords: Roman Egypt, “Barbotine” decoration, ancient Egyptian pottery, pottery workshops of Roman Empire, Aswan pottery workshops, Aswan Barbotine ware

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