Professor Ann Steiner
, Franklin and Marshall College
Students: Kathleen Rickards, Steven Colon, Abigail Greenbaum, Jennifer Isham

Four Franklin & Marshall students are working with Professor Ann Steiner to characterize the Podere Funghi locally-made fine ware pottery in several ways. Last year's group of F&M students determined that local fine-ware bowls existed in 3-4 standard sizes, with the most common size having a base diameter of c.6-8 cm and a rim diameter of c.16-18 cm; in addition, they concluded that at least some of the shapes found on the hill, at Poggio Colla, and similar shapes from the midden had many features in common This year's group decided on several ways to see if there was indeed standardization of the bowl types. First the group expanded the evidence sampled, to see if the bowl sizes remained consistent. After looking carefully at the "context pottery," that ceramic evidence from the midden that was not initially entered into the official site inventory, students concluded that there were many additional examples of the "standard sizes," but there may have been additional examples not conforming to those dimensions. Having researched other examples of standardization, principally at the nearby site of Marzabotto, students undertook a study of capacity to see if potters were not only standardizing bowl sizes, in terms of foot and rim diameters, but also aiming for fixed capacities. Implementing a formula via an Excel spreadsheet, the students used the "summed cylinder" method of calculating capacity to see how standardized the capacities in the midden pottery are. In addition, they are testing to see if the capacities are similar in both fine ware and black-glaze pottery from Poggio Colla.

Professor Ann Steiner with Jen Isham, Abby Greenbaum,
Kathleen Rickards, and Steven Colon in the ceramics study room.

The use of standard volume measures is well known in the ancient world; evidence from the Athenian Agora is one clear example, and pottery from Marzabotto may provide an Etruscan parallel. Such standardization reflects a sophisticated, highly organized society. It will be interesting to see how the results of the pottery research group compares with that of Professor Gretchen Meyers' students' investigations of standard sizes of roof tiles at Poggio Colla.

The students will present their results at the Franklin & Marshall College Autumn Research fair; in the past F&M students have presented results of their summer research at the annual meeting of the Classical Association of the Atlantic States and it will be possible for this year's group to submit an abstract to that body as well.


Research Projects