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Excavation

  • Proprietà “Il Gombito”
  • Ariano Ferrarese (Mesola, Fe)
  • Insula Hatriani
  • Italy
  • Emilia-Romagna
  • Provincia di Ferrara
  • Mesola

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Credits

  • The Italian Database is the result of a collaboration between:

    MIBAC (Ministero per i Beni e le Attività Culturali - Direzione Generale per i Beni Archeologici),

    ICCD (Istituto Centrale per il Catalogo e la Documentazione) and

    AIAC (Associazione Internazionale di Archeologia Classica).

  • AIAC_logo logo

Summary (English)

  • An inscription of the gens Pontia on a Dressel 2-4 amphora from Ariano Ferrarese (Mesola, Ferrara).
    The investigations undertaken at Ariano Ferrarese uncovered a settlement that grew up in the 1st century B.C. close to the via Popillia and the bed of a river that was navigable in antiquity. The excavated area had been used as a midden and contained pottery of various types: black glaze, Schwarze-sigillata, Terra Sigillata Italica, amphorae, grey ware, coarse and fine plain wares. Many of the artefacts presented well-preserved and legible stamps and graffiti. The presence of wasters (a deformed coarse ware lagynos handle, a vitrified grey ware cup, a sigillata plate with a brown fabric and patchy and blackened surface, a dented thin-walled jar) suggests the presence of one or more kilns within the settlement.
    The neck of a Dressel 2-4 amphora with an inscription inside a rectangular cartouche (3.5 × 0.7 cm) is of particular interest. It is perfectly preserved, however, at present no published parallels have been found. The groups of letters are separated by clearly visible triangles, both to the naked eye and on rubbings. It reads: GA•PON•VA with a clear connection between the letters G and A. The stamp is singular because of the difficulty in to interpreting the abbreviation and identifying the individual named. The minute triangles might simply be traces left by the die, without any meaning within the inscription, or may be deliberate.

    If the second hypothesis is taken as correct, the inscription would read GA(_ius_ or Gavius) PON VA(_lens_?). This reading raises a number of questions, as no amphora stamps attributable to the gens Pontia are known. The Gavius Pontius of the Ariano amphora might be a descendant of the Samnite condottiere of the same name who led the Romans through the Caudine Forks in the battle that took place in 321 B.C. (Livy, Hist. IX and Periochae, XI-XV).

    Members of this family did not hold any important offices during the Republican period: the only cognomen that has come down to us is that of _L.Pontius Aquila, one of Caesar’s assassins, mentioned by Suetonius in The Lives of the Twelve Caesars L. VIII, LXXVIII. The names of members of this family who held consular office in the imperial period are well-known to historians: Marcus Pontius Sabinus, Marcus Pontius Laelianus and Gaius Pontius Pilatus prefect of the Roman province of Judea under the emperor Tiberius.
    It is possible that a production of amphora existed stamped with the name of a member of the gens Pontia previously unknown to the historical sources.

  • Giulia Lodi 

Director

  • Fede Berti - Museo Archeologico Nazionale di Spina (Ferrara)

Team

  • Fede Berti - Museo Archeologico Nazionale di Spina (Ferrara)
  • D’Ascanio Rosa Murli - Museo Archeologico Nazionale di Ferrara

Research Body

  • Soprintendenza per i Beni Archeologici dell'Emilia-Romagna

Funding Body

Images

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