Introduction, or why would you want to know capacity

Measuring capacity of a ceramic vessel is not part of the ordinary archaeological process that starts with the recovering of artifacts during excavation and ends with publication as a drawing of the profile. More recently, photographic pictures of sherds and vessels are included in archaeological publications.

Transport vessels

Capacity is of paramount importance for transport vessels like amphorae. Should you fail to recognize this importance, you may end up comparing numbers that have no meaning. If you have 3 Africana grande and 3 Keay 26 (spatheion), you’re not dealing with the same amount of 2 different types of vessels, but with a dramatically different quantity of oil or wine.

Eating vessels

Even for the study of tablewares, capacity can be a key factor to distinguish between individual and collective vessels.