The examination of the percentages of functional groups in the composition of ceramic assemblages has been shown to be a useful approach to interpreting a site. This was particularly clear with transport vessels. This study focuses on lamps in central Italy between the late republican and early imperial periods. As the least well represented group, lamps may seem to offer little. Nevertheless, it emerges that there is a normal range of percentages that can be expected for lamps in assemblages of that date range and region, against which unusual results can be evaluated, leading to considerations about the nature of the site where they were found. While series will have to be constructed for other times and places, a brief look at some percentages from 5th-century CE sites from the same region and from a site with a similar date range in Egypt suggests that they will be in the same order of magnitude.
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