We have virtually no detailed evidence for the organisation of Etruscan ceramic production centres. No kilns have been excavated and published, nor have any clay pits or workshops. The most profitable solution to this problem would be geophysical survey and excavation of the known kiln sites in the city at Doganella.
The survey ceramics have been studied at a macroscopic scale. Detailed petrological analysis of clays and minerals could provide more accurate descriptions and also point to an origin for some of the imported pottery and amphorae. The survey area lies just to the north of the boundary between the volcanic geology of southern Etruria and the clay and limestone hills of northern Etruria and so it is relatively straightforward to identify ceramics containing volcanic minerals as imports from southern Etruria. However, identifying which part of southern Etruria was the origin of the ceramics would be much more difficult.
Most of the ceramics in this study are poorly dated and only further excavation of a range of stratified deposits will improve the situation. As research progresses and more evidence is studied and published, it will become possible to compare collections of ceramics from field surveys and excavations and look systematically for regional differences and similarities in ceramic traditions.
At a basic level this study demonstrates the kinds of pottery that ´ordinary´ Etruscans in this part of Etruria used. It also provides a variety of evidence which can be related back into the evidence of the settlement patterns identified by field survey. Dating the pottery gives some indication of a dating for each site which makes a diachronic approach to the study of the settlement history possible (Perkins 1991; in press). It also provides evidence for activities at each site through the functional analysis of the pottery as, for example, an amphora or a drinking vessel. When considered at the regional scale, the pottery provides evidence for production, trade patterns within the region and trade with other areas.
Combining the pottery evidence with the settlement patterns and landscape archaeology of Etruria can provide an additional approach to the study of the Etruscans. The careful combination of the different forms of evidence is important in order to produce a balanced account; so an account of the Etruscan countryside based on archaeobotanical, archaeozoological and landscape archaeology such as that provided by Graeme Barker (Barker 1988), only tells one part of the story. Equally, an account based largely on artefactual studies given by Michel Gras (Gras 1989), ends up giving control of production and consumption to an urban-based aristocracy because emphasis is placed upon a political, polis-based interpretation rather than an agricultural and geographical basis of production and consumption.
These artefactual, naturalistic, topographic and rural approaches to the archaeology of the Etruscans also need to be integrated with the Úlite, mortuary, art and precious objects archaeology derived from the cities and cemeteries of Etruria and their history. When this is done perhaps we will be closer to Torelli´s vision of an archaeological history (Torelli 1987, 9-33) and be able to provide a fully rounded account of the Etruscans and the 1st millennium BC in central Italy.