Explaining urban transformations through Roman pottery: the case of Carthago Nova (Southeastern Spain)

Lecture | December 11 | 12-1 p.m. | 101 2251 College (Archaeological Research Facility)

 Alejandro Quevedo, UC Berkeley Roman Material Culture Laboratory

 Archaeological Research Facility

The transition process of the Roman city between the Early Roman period and Late Antiquity is difficult to understand due to the absence of urban models and the decline in epigraphy. The transformations that accompany this period are detectable in the western provinces of the Roman Empire from a very early time. Their interpretation –crisis, mutation, adaptation– varies with each study case. Ancient Cartagena (Hispania Citerior) is a paradigm of these changes. Traditional narrative holds that from the end of the 1st century AD, the city began to show symptoms of exhaustion, at the same time as literary and epigraphic evidence began to decline, until it disappeared altogether. In this lecture, I will develop an approach to discovering more about Carthago Nova’s urban reality during the 2nd and 3rd centuries AD based on the archaeological record and taking into account the stratigraphic sequences and the material culture, especially the pottery. The aims of this research are threefold: to serve as an instrument for dating; to provide quantified data about Carthago Nova’s patterns of consumption, way of life and trading links; and to understand the evolution of the city in a period from which the urban model of the Late Period emerged.

About the speaker: Alejandro Quevedo is a visiting postdoctoral fellow at the University of California, Berkeley Roman Material Culture Laboratory for the Fall, 2019 semester, supported by a Séneca Foundation fellowship from the region of Murcia (Spain). He is a specialist in Roman pottery and currently holds a position as a post-doctoral researcher at the Department of Archaeology at the University of Murcia. In recent years he has been a postdoctoral researcher at both the Centre Camille Jullian (Aix-Marseille University, France) and at the Spanish School of History and Archaeology in Rome (Italy, Spanish National Research Council). His research focuses on the study of the economy of the southeastern part of the Iberian Peninsula during the Roman period as evidenced by the ceramic evidence and commercial exchanges between Spain, Italy and North Africa in Antiquity, with emphasis on coastal Algeria.