University of Leicester
2022PegurriAPhD.pdf (203.86 MB)

A City in Transition? Exploiting Common Wares to Question Socio- Cultural and Economic Change in Late Antique Rome

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posted on 2022-07-25, 14:33 authored by Alessandra Pegurri

Rome between AD 300-600 was a city in transition, which saw major changes in its demographic and economic profile. While much debated via text and monuments and through charting changes in international trade, older studies rarely engaged with the ‘ordinary’ material culture to see how far changes affecting Rome are reflected in the everyday. This thesis therefore investigates the much-neglected data offered by Common Wares - ceramics for household activities not used for cooking on hearths/ovens - to question material changes and responses.

My analysis centres on the systematic and critical study of Common Wares assemblages from three recently excavated contexts in Rome (the Curiae Veteres sanctuary site and the Horti Lamiani area with excavations at Piazza Vittorio and Piazza Dante). I supplement this primary material with all the published specimens of Common Wares from late antique contexts of Rome located within the Aurelianic Walls.

To counter the lack of available classifications of the locally/regionally produced vessels circulating in Rome in the study period, I developed a comprehensive typological classification system for these vessels to bring together all the information about their forms and types. From this, the spatial and chronological distribution of the Common Wares evidence across Rome is assessed, enabling new interpretations of this widespread ceramic class circulating during Late Antiquity and highlighting its value in displaying Rome’s economic and social evolution. Specific case studies are also explored that give insights into changing daily and eating habits.

Overall, this study fills some of the substantial gaps in our understanding of the production, distribution and consumption of Common Wares in late and post-classical Rome and helps characterise better evolving contemporary economic and household strategies.



Penelope Allison; Neil Christie

Date of award


Author affiliation

School of Archaeology and Ancient History

Awarding institution

University of Leicester

Qualification level

  • Doctoral

Qualification name

  • PhD



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