Date of Award


Degree Type


Degree Name

Master of Arts (MA)


Classical Studies


E.W. Haley




After more than two centuries of bottling the wines of Italy in amphorae of a standard Roman shape (Chapter One), Italian potters in the first century B.C. turned to the use of a container whose form was inspired by the wine amphora of the Aegean island of Cos. This Coan form offered certain economic and technical advantages over the previous Italian types (Chapter Two). The new Italian container, the Dressel 2-4, was adopted by pottery production centres throughout Italy, and transported Italian wines beyond the bounds of the Mediterranean, from Britain to India (Chapter Three). Its distribution, the greatest of any ancient Mediterranean amphora, inspired provinces like Spain and Gaul to imitate the shape for their own increasing wine exports. However, the emergence of the provinces onto the scene led to a dramatic change in the wine trade: Italy was no longer the dominant supplier of wine to the western Mediterranean; Spanish and Gaulish vineyards could now provide their own vintages (Chapter Four). Wine exports in Dressel 2-4s from these provinces and from Italy were already dropping by the second half of the first century A.C. in favour of increasing self-sufficiency; by the mid-second century, Dressel 2-4 production had declined to very low levels, heralding the end of production of wine amphorae intended for major overseas distribution. Although manufacture of the Dressel 2-4 continued until at least the beginning of the third century, the fiat-based amphora, originating in the provinces in the early first century A.C., took over the transportation of the wines of the central and western Mediterranean, on a much more regional level of distribution (Chapter Five).

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