Roland Hampe and the Potter's Trade - ethno-archaeological observations

With potters and tile makers in Greece, Cyprus and southern Italy. Archaeological pioneer work.

This web-site intends to make available to a wide public both pictures and films that constitute an impressive testimony to pioneering work in the field of archaeology. Roland Hampe, professor in the Department of Classical Archaeology at the University of Heidelberg from 1959 to 1975, initiated an inter-disciplinary project that led him and his colleagues to the traditional centres for pottery making in Greece, Cyprus and southern Italy. This was at time when classical archaeology in Germany concentrated mainly on ancient Greek and Roman art history.

During these extensive journeys, whose results were presented in two publications, over 500 slides were produced which are now kept in the slide collection of the Heidelberg Institute for Classical Archaeology. While many of these slides have yellowed, others still have their original bright colours. These pictures are more than a mere photographic documentation of an ancient craft. They also display great aesthetic demands and betray Hampes particular feeling for the atmospheric effects of a location and for the right moment. They reflect the feelings of a perceptive observer who through them makes accessible the triangle, central to the work of the archaeologist, of person-usage-object. Such pictures stand on the divide between past and present, between archaeological research and public interest. They give an appropriate pictorial impression of the content and aims of modern classical archaeology. Such a classical archaeology can only follow its path into the future by being a challenging contemporary discipline of Classical Studies.

Prof. Dr. Diamantis Panagiotopoulos