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Terres de l’Ebre Museum

Trade

<p>Ornamental objects and ceramic pieces are representative of this period.</p>

Ornamental objects and ceramic pieces are representative of this period.

In this space, we can follow the trade existing between the Terres de l’Ebre and other Mediterranean regions over nearly five hundred years, between the 6th and 2nd centuries BC. This rich commerce is principally represented by ceramic pieces, including containers, dishes and ornaments. These pieces were found in different sites in the Terres de l’Ebre, and here, on a map of the Mediterranean, we can see their place of origin.

In this period, ships did not sail on the open sea, preferring instead to hug the coastline. This meant that besides their main cargo, they often carried additional merchandise (perfumed ointments, necklaces, etc.) from the ports where they stopped. As a result, we often find Phoenician or Corinthian ointment jars or Egyptian amulets.

These trade ties had a significant impact on local communities, resulting in significant changes to their economic and social structure. Wine was the main product brought by Phoenician merchants, who in exchange took raw materials, metals, cloth and most likely slaves. Here, we have amphorae and large vessels, as well as the first dishes associated with wine consumption at banquets and ceremonies. In the 5th century BC, contact with different Greek peoples favoured the importation of luxury Attic ceramics for wine consumption, which were mostly used by the elites as a status symbol. Later on, up to the 3rd century BC, we continue to find luxury ceramics from different workshops, as well as turned ceramics from other areas of the Iberian Peninsula. Once the Second Punic War (218-206 BC) came to a close, Mediterranean trade was not interrupted, as can be seen in the arrival of Italian ceramics. Nor did local commerce cease, as we can see in painted vessels from eastern Iberian coast and the grey ceramics from the Catalan coast.

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