The term ´impasto´ has a variety of meanings in Italian pottery studies, some precise and some rather wide ranging. ´Impasto´ is frequently used in the same way as ´fabric´ in English to indicate the fired combination of clay and fluxes and fillers used to make pottery. However, the word is also used generally to describe ´coarseware´ where clay that has not been well elutriated is used to model vessels. This kind of pottery is also commonly called ´ceramica comune´.
In Etruscan pottery studies the term ´impasto´ has a rather more precise meaning. It is used to describe a class of burnished and slipped wares which are usually wheel-made and commonly decorated in relief or with impressions. The fabrics of this ´impasto´ are often quite coarse and poorly depurated but the surfaces are burnished and polished to a fine and smooth finish. Firing is variable; some examples are strongly and evenly oxidised to a bright orange, but many have evidence of mixed firing conditions shown by mottled colours from dark red to greenish brown to black. Such variations in the colour of the finish may indicate the use of a clamp kiln or even a bonfire for firing. This ´impasto´ dates between the late 8th and the late 6th century BC. There is no synthetic study of this class of ceramics but a catalogue of finds from Cerveteri provides a useful overview and detailed notes (Bosio and Pugnetti 1986).
The fabrics of this Etruscan ´impasto´ are variable suggesting a low degree of standardisation and a wide range of production centres. A variety of ´impasto´ fabrics were recorded in the survey collection; one (C1) was a burnished version of Coarseware 1.
|Bowls||Type 1, Type 2, Type 3, Type 4, Type 5, Type 6, Type 7, Type 8, Type 9, Type 10|
|Jars||Type 1, Type 2, Type 3, Type 4, Type 5, Type 6, Type 7|
|Jar Handle||Typical handle|
|Jar Bases||Type 1, Type 2|
|Plates||Type 1, Type 2, Type 3, Type 4|