- Kevin Greene
ExtractRoman pottery was used for a wider range of purposes than in most periods of prehistory or the Middle Ages, providing a comprehensive range of vessels for table and kitchen functions, and for use in storage and transportation. At the top of the quality scale were mass-produced vessels with a smooth red glossy surface designed for the table, notably eastern and western terra sigillata, or samian ware, whose Italian varieties (especially that from Arrezzo) were particularly widely distributed in the Augustan period. Elaborately decorated cups and beakers with coloured surface coatings were used alongside this dinner service. The majority of Roman pots were plain earthenware vessels designed for everyday household cooking and storage functions. More specialized were *amphorae, used for transporting wine and oil, globular dolia, employed on farms for storage and fermentation, and mortaria, large bowls suitable for grinding and mixing. Moulded oil-lamps and terracotta figurines were manufactured in large quantities for domestic and ritual purposes. Many Roman buildings were constructed from bricks and roofed with ceramic tiles, while additional clay elements aided the construction of bath-buildings and vaulted ceilings (see building materials).
- Roman Material Culture