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RESEARCH> Prospection on surface

1 - Land and underwater prospection campaigns (1993-2001)>>>
2 - Prospection on surface>>>
3 - Underwater prospection 1994>>>
4 - Underwater prospection 2001>>>

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Prospecció en áreas y cuadrícuals 94-95 Puerto de Sa Nitja Prospection on surface

Alter the study of the private pottery collection, we started a non systematic prospection on the site. It was the first time we analyzed the ground’s characteristics.

We decided to divide the site in areas to work more efficiently, as we had quite a large surface. We designed a plan with areas, identified with a correlative numerical system.

To set the areas we had in mind the artificial and natural boundaries found on the ground, mainly the plot limits set by dry walls, as well as the road and the path crossing the site towards the lighthouse and accross Santa Teresa, clear topographical elements, vegetation lines and the coastline in the harbour.

For the study of the superficial archaeological material, we decided to collect the most meaningful fragments, especially rims and bases, and those whose characteristics, fabric, decoration, varnish or other, might supply more information to our research.

The pottery’s chronological analysis reveals that the oldest materials, like in the private collection, are Punic amphoras, and more specifically the Maña C 2, or Punic Ebusitan (PE 17). In the Late Republican period there is a great abundance of Dressel 1, representing 4% of the overall pottery of the site (21% of amphoras).

As in most Balearic sites, the presence of Terra Sigillata (Samian) increases progresively. It starts with a small presence of Italian material (2%), to rise up with the South Gaulic material (3.5 %), and then experience an outstanding increase with the African origin materials (6.3 % of Clear A, and 18.5% of Cleaar D). This progression has to be understood not only in the light of the comercial relationships, but also with the evolution experienced in the manufacturing of fine pottery, developing into an industrial process.

Regarding Samian of the Clear A class, the most frequent typologies are similar to the ones found in larger amounts in other sites with the same characteristics as Sanisera (a small natural harbour, strategic zone in the sea trade routes, etc.), such as Hayes 3, 6, 9, or 14.

But Clear D is the most notorious type of Samian on site, as we collected 48 different types, with the Hayes 91, 94, 99, and 104 as the main ones.

Nevertheless, the most abundant African material is not the fine pottery, but kitchen ware, representing a 21.6% of the total. This large presence is explained by different reasons: long production period, fragility of the pieces, and the existing relations with the North African territories. The most frequent types found are Hayes 23, 185, 196, and 197.

African material sums up to 57.5 % of the total in the site. And this fact, confirmed with the study of the private collection, raises a work hypothesis about the possible direct trade between the Balearics and the north of Africa, not only because of the proportional relation between fine pottery and amphoras, but also after a careful analysis of the favourable geographical connection shared with the African continent.

The second largest group of material is oxidated common ware, representing 20% of the total of sherds in the site. Nevertheless, we cannot say much about it, as we lack a typology, or a composition analysis, and we cannot be certain of its origin. It could be local or imported.

Regarding relations with the Iberian peninsula, they were not important until the moment Layetan wine was imported, that is, until the time when the Imperial agriculture policies supported provincial products and not just the Italian productions, around the 1st century A.D. We find an important amount of these Tarraconense amphoras, a 2.9% of the total, although the presence of this amphoric material before the 1st century A.D. is minimal.

Also, we should mention the presence of items from the Betica area. This is not surprising, given the importance of this province in the Imperial commercial policies. The collected material, fragments of amphoras Dressel 7/11 and Dressel 20 for fish products transportation, represents 1.2% of the total.

Another interesting element about the products from Hispania is the scarcity of Samian from this province, as we have only identified 4 fragments of this type of pottery. The reason has to be found in the almost exclusive use of this product in the Spanish inland, with the African Samian replacing it on the coastal areas.


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