The matt-painted pottery of Salento (southeast Italy) is notable for demonstrating comparatively early signs of regional stylistic coherence in the 8th century BCE. The Salentine style is also known for its early incorporation of shapes and motifs from other regional matt-painted pottery styles – namely, from the matt-painted pottery produced in southeast Albania. These stylistic changes have in the past been attributed to the migration of Illyrians across the Adriatic Sea, who then continued to produce and decorate pottery as they settled and integrated into Salentine communities, influencing the methods and behaviours of local potters. However, decorative and morphological changes could occur without direct contact between potters; Salentine potters may have adopted new motifs and shapes simply through imitation following observation of imported pottery from southeast Albania. Examining the traces of technical behaviours and gestures potters used to form and finish their products can, however, yield more information about levels and nature of engagement between different potting communities.
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