Brick Stamps

Several stamped bricks have been found at the Gioiella-Vaiano Villa. Most of these are only partially preserved and cannot be reconstructed. However, we have two complete stamps that match three partial examples and preserve the name L.ATALLIANI meaning “of Lucius Atallianus.”

Date: unknown, probably mid-1st c. to mid 2nd c. AD Material: terracotta Date found: 11 June 2019 Location: Gioiella-Vaiano Villa site, CLG19 Trench B7 U.S. 221

BrickStamp 3D Model by trasimenoscavi on Sketchfab

Most of the brick stamps were found on the surface of the site. The two complete stamps with L.ATALLIANI both come from the fill in the Central Area. The one pictured above is from an upper deposit (U.S. 221) that was formed recently by agricultural work on the site. This brick probably came from a structure on the upper terrace of the Villa. The other example is from the deposit right above the floor level of the nymphaeum (U.S. 253) and likely fell from the upper part of the building as it collapsed.

Why this artifact matters:
The name L. Attalianus is not attested among the published brick stamps of Italy. The “-ianus” ending for a cognomen is interesting and suggests that at some point L. Atallianus (or one of his ancestors) changed their social status, perhaps through adoption and/or manumission, and that the original name was Atallius.

Brick stamps record the name of the operator (officinator) or owner (dominus) of the brick works. Often the officinatores were freedmen. Perhaps L. Atallianus was the operator of a local brick works in the Trsimeno region. It is also possible, since the bricks for the Villa may have been made on site (the necessary materials were readily available) that L. Atallianus was one of the Villa’s owners in the early Imperial Period. For right now we do not know enough to reach a conclusion.

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