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Insights into the provenance of Roman moulds and poinçons found at Scoppieto (Terni, Italy)



Laser ablation – inductively coupled plasma – mass spectrometry (LA–ICP–MS) was used to determine the composition of four poinçons and six moulds from the large Roman archaeological site of Scoppieto (Terni, Italy), an important production centre for several types of ceramic wares from the fourth century bc to the fifth century ad. Compositional data were transformed to move from the simplex to the real space, and classical multivariate tools applied to highlight the similarities between the new material found at Scoppieto and existing reference groups. Statistical analysis identified distinctive chemical characteristics in the samples from Arezzo and Vasanello (central Italy), which are clearly different from moulds from Scoppieto. The results indicate that poinçons found at Scoppieto were probably made in Arezzo and raw materials from Scoppieto were used for local production of moulds. Therefore, Scoppieto should be considered one of the most important production centres of Roman pottery, since all stages of the production cycle were carried out by highly specialized workers.