Introduction

The production of lead-glazed pottery in Late Hellenistic and Early Roman Asia Minor in the first century B.C.E. was "an unprecedented experiment that broke from the 1,500-year-old tradition in the Near East of glazing ceramics with an alkaline flux."1 Firm evidence for the long-suspected manufacture of lead-glazed pottery at Tarsus was recovered from excavations at Gozlu Kule in the 1930s and prepared for publication by Frances Follin Jones.2 Jones also wrote an article equating this glazed pottery with the rhosica vasa (Rhosic Ware) mentioned by Cicero,3 while scientific analyses confirmed that it had a high lead content similar to that of medieval and later pottery.4 This paper explores the "dialectical relationship between the microlevel of research and the grand theories that provide its research context."5 It places lead-glazed ceramics into a theoretical framework and relates the results to wider economic, technological, and cultural questions.6

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