Kvarner newsletter / no 39

Roman heritage
New type of amphora discovered in Crikvenica

In addition to the many types of Roman amphorae that are already known about, a completely new type has recently been discovered in Crikvenica! It is distinctive for its flat bottom and for having been produced exclusively in the area of the present Crikvenica in the 1st and 2nd centuries AD. This is why replicas of this amphora have become a new original souvenir of Crikvenica.

'Flat-bottom Adriatic amphora of the Crikvenica type' is the official name (confirmed by archaeology experts) for the unique type of amphora that has been discovered in the Igralište-Ad turres archaeological site in Crikvenica. It is a sub-type of the antique flat bottom Roman amphora. Some similar amphorae were found near the Italian town of Rimini, but they differ from those found in Crikvenica in shape of the belly, neck, rim and handles. For this reason, the Crikvenica type has been confirmed as a separate variant of a flat-bottomed amphora. Another distinctive feature of the Crikvenica-type amphorae is the fact that they were manufactured exclusively in the ceramic workshop in the area of Ad turres (antique name of the present Crikvenica). The existence of such a large workshop, which is today an extraordinarily well-preserved archaeological site, suggests that Crikvenica in the 1st and 2nd centuries AD was an important economical centre in the Northern Adriatic. This is also attested by the fact that numerous products of this workshop have been found all over Adriatic coast, which is the best proof that trade and economy in this area were well developed during that period. A part of the interesting story about ancient Crikvenica and its ceramic workshop is the specific type of amphora, which is however just one of many ceramic products that were manufactured in this workshop during 250 years of its existence. Many years of archaeological research in the Ad Turres location have by now revealed the existence of seven ceramic ovens and a series of other production areas. Today we even know the name of the owner of this workshop – it was a man named Sextus Metilius Maximus, which is attested by seals with his name on many items that were found in the area.

On the basis of these historical and archaeological discoveries, a project was stared in Crikvenica aimed at promoting the area's antique heritage. The main highlight of this project is the unique type of Crikvenica amphora. The promotion of this authentic souvenir, which is represented in small replicas, is supported by several local institutions. The project is only at its beginning, but we hope that this original souvenir will soon become a new symbol of Crikvenica.