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The so-called "Kölner Jagdbecher". - On a Pottery Production in the Roman Rhineland of the 2nd Century AD

As a part of the Postdoc Scholarship of the Graduate School of the Archaeological Institute of the University of Cologne ("Formation and Self-Depiction of Elites in the Cities of the Roman Empire") a specific group of Roman engobed pottery, so-called "Kölner Jadgbecher" could be investigated. By undertaking an almost comprehensive recording of the group of potter, an analyzable material foundation was achieved to answer questions on important iconographic and functional as well as trade and technological matters.


The engobed ware, which was achieved through a reducing firing, is one of the dominating pottery industries of the Rhineland in middle imperial times. Cologne seems to be one of the main productions centers of the so-called “Kölner Jadgbecher”, an especially significant pottery type, which mostly remained in the northwestern provinces of the Roman Empire. In contrary to the usual Barbotine-cups with a standardized ornamental or floral decoration, the “Kölner Jagdbecher” exhibit a rich figure relief with animals. These stereotypically arranged frieze combinations of local and exotic animals, that are sometimes supplemented by gladiatorial scenes, allow the interpretation of a depiction of the diverse entertainment programs in Roman ampitheaters (munera, venation). Those spectacles in the arena were not only a public event for few  wealthy members of the Roman elite but they also played a part in the private organization of the lives of a growingly Romanized population. The iconography exhibited on the decoration of the “Kölner Jagdbecher” thus gives testimony to a growing process of Romanization since the second quarter of the 2nd century AD.


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Supervision: Priv.-Doz. Dr. Werner Oenbrink

Funding: Research Training Group "Formation and Self-Depiction of City Elites in the Provinces of the Roman Empire"