Roman pottery in the XII Emerita Lvdica 2022

During the week of May 23 to 29, 2022, the Emerita Lvdica historical recreation festival took place in the city of Mérida. Among the many cultural and leisure offers that are spread around the city on those days, was the Roman Market of the Temple of Diana, where the artisan Julián Ortega Durán has participated for five years now, the first two as a student and the next three as a company. (Terralfar).

Fig. 1. Terralfar pottery stall in the XII Emerita Lvdica.

For this occasion, we wanted to handcraft a lathe inspired by those of the Roman period to provide greater immersion to the festival and be especially pleasing to the many recreationists, archaeologists and other people who visit us. An especially beautiful moment was when an Italian archaeologist who claimed to have spent 16 years working in Pompeii exclaimed that when she looked at Julián, both because of the wheel, the products and the artisan's own appearance and performance, she felt as if she were in that city. before the disaster. A recognition that personally rewards the work behind it. In addition, the pleasure of knowing that you are capable of making the machines that you need for your trade is very pleasant.

Fig. 2. Terralfar stall.

Among the products offered at the stall were bowls, jug cups, glasses and terra sigillata plates, a very characteristic technique of Roman tableware. These pieces were made thanks to Rafa Galindo , the beloved master ceramicist and chemical engineer from Vilarreal during the year 2021. But there were also other types of pieces to adapt to different clients, such as enameled bowls that did not completely break with the times and met all the requirements of the current tableware, as well as pots inspired by the Roman marmorata . Other pieces that were brought as a novelty this year were rustic ceramic flutes and an openwork lamp. And, as in all rigorous Roman pottery stalls, vases, pitchers, amphoras and jars could not be missing.

Fig. 3. Arrangement of some pottery products.

The four days of the market, from Thursday to Sunday, passed calmly, without reaching expectations after the pandemic, perhaps already noticing the drop in consumption expected in an inflationary period. In addition to the products, Julián teaches lathe workshops, which are always very popular, but this year was different, focusing on demonstrations and publicity for the courses he teaches during the summer. No two markets are the same and the craftsman has to adapt, as those who preceded him have been doing since the beginning of time. In any case, it is always a pleasure to participate in this festival and for your fellow citizens to see your work and learn a little about what you can contribute to them.


Figures 1-3. Self-made photographs.