of Roman Samian Ware Pottery Sherds
Samian ware, or terra
sigillata (as it is known on the Continent) was imported into Roman
Britain in vast quantities from the 1st Century A.D. from Southern
Gaul, then in the 2nd Century A.D. from Central Gaul and in the 3rd
Century from the East Gaulish German Provinces. We are able to distinguish the
sources of most samian from the form, style and the type of inclusions
that occur in the fabric.
There are many books available on samian ware (see Suggested
reading) and the excellent website Potsherd by Paul
A really useful guide is Illustrating
Samian Ware. Guidelines for the recording, illustration and
publication of samian ware, in particular decorated vessels and
stamps. It focuses on rubbings as the principal means of illustrating
samian, though provides information on other techniques, for example
photography and conventional line drawing
Below we concentrate on showing those small fragments of
complete vessels that one normally finds during excavations that may
give a clue as to which form of samian a sherd may come from. Also on the appearance of the fabric as
it might be viewed through a x20 lense or microscope.
on each link to see pictures of sherds of individual forms and fabrics. For
background information see Introduction
to Pottery Archive.
The majority of these sherds were typed back in the late
1980's, and since then knowledge of the fabrics and their dating may have
been modified, so please if you feel that any description is
incorrect, please let us know at firstname.lastname@example.org
so that we can amend our information.
System of plastic boxes and trays
for storing and displaying for handling Roman
The present pottery archive consists
of pottery sherds recovered from the Billingsgate dumps, and so apart
from the imported wares represents pottery traded and used in London.
We are now extending the range of material by including sherds
from excavations throughout Kent, to better reflect the differing
fabrics of all dates from London and Kent
Updated March 2022
with help from J.M. Mills and Gwladys Monteil Many thanks
Jo and Gwladys.
to The Christopher St John Breen Roman Pottery Archive Introduction