Elizabeth Jane Shepherd (Ministero dei beni e delle attività culturali e del turismo), Selling tiles by the thousands. Roman CBM cargoes in the Mediterranean
I have stressed, in the past years, how different technical overlapping devices in Roman plain tiles point to different geographical and cultural areas of production in the Mediterranean countries (Shepherd 2015), also possibily answering problems posed to builders by changing climatic factors (Shepherd 2016). It is now time to apply these patterns to the “closed context” BCM loads preserved in shipwrecks, analysing the results in order to determine their possible provenance and also their final use. Many of the shipwrecked cargoes are in fact specialized consignments for specific building programs, and not simply return cargoes, as was commonly thought in the past decades. This is clear also from an important addition to the number of known BCM shipwrecks: a new, well preserved wreck recently found off Sardinia, carrying a whole cargo of tiles.
These are some of the results to be gained by this research: a) identification of new patterns in this particular kind of commerce; b) identification of likely production areas; c) identification of the people behind it (brickmakers, traders, builders, patrons).