Putting a Name to the Pot – The Evidence of Potter Stamps on Terra Sigillata – Meike Weber (Reading)

This presentation explores the supply of Samian ware to Britain and the provinces on the basis of potters’ stamps from continental sites and Britain itself. These have recently been made accessible by the publications of the monograph series “Names on Terra Sigillata” as well as the appending data base. This paper will focus on the Antonine period, a major production and trading phase of Central Gaulish sigillata.

The Roman province of Britannia was probably the main export market for Central Gaulish samian workshops. Their products occur at both military and civilian sites throughout the province. As such, it produces data that directly reflects the range of vessels and trade patterns of these workshops from their emergence in the early 2nd century through to the end of supply. In contrast, the frontier zone along the German Limes offers a picture of fluctuating trade, some areas offering more evidence of Central Gaulish products than others. As the pottery was evidently traded along the river Rhine and should have been evenly supplied, different questions will have to be asked.

Based on Steve Willis’ previous works on consumption patterns of samian in Britain, this presentation will explore intra-regional comparisons of consumption across the provinces of Britain and Germany.  Does the absence or presence of certain potters at different sites thus have chronological reasons or could it have been the result of trade routes, distribution networks, economic considerations, or personal consumer preferences? Are we looking at state-controlled supply of Samian to military fortifications or did individual traders offer a choice to the consumers?

Several case studies of individual potters will form the basis of a comparison of British and continental supply with Central Gaulish Samian.


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