Bucchero is the name given to the distinctive, lustrous black ware made by the Etruscans during the Orientalizing and Archaic periods. It is a refined form of Italian impasto pottery, which was made of unrefined clay, usually formed without the potter's wheel and fired brown/black. Bucchero was made of purified clay, turned on a wheel and burnished before firing. During firing, the supply of oxygen to the kiln was restricted so that the iron oxides in the clay caused it to turn black. This process (reduction) was probably assisted by the presence of carbon (organic material) in the kiln, which the potter deliberately introduced.
Both plain and decorated forms of bucchero were used for all the popular types of pottery. Early bucchero, beginning about 675-650 BC, was of the finest quality. It was made in elegant shapes with thin walls often decorated with incised or dotted lines. The main centres of production were at Cerveteri, Veii and Tarquinia. Towards the end of the seventh century, elaborate, modelled forms became popular. During the early sixth century bucchero was often ornamented with repeating designs impressed with a roller-stamp. The wares of the second half of the sixth and early fifth century feature heavy decoration in relief. Centres of production were at Chiusi and Volterra.