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The Roman Pottery of Kent
by Dr Richard J. Pollard  -  Chapter 4  page 80
Doctoral thesis completed in 1982, published 1988

A.D. 120-220

1. The Fine Wares

Fine ware assemblages of the century following the death of Trajan are dominated by two fabrics: Central Gaulish samian and Upchurch(?) fine grey ware, the former primarily supplying cups and open bowls, the latter beakers. Imports of colour-coated wares from the Continent reached a wider market than in previous years: the white-fabric dark slip lower Rhineland wares are particularly frequent in occurrence on all classes of site throughout Kent, as are the black-slip Central Gaulish beakers and cups imported alongside red-slip samian during the second half of the second century. The varied wares originating in the London area are generally thought not to have been produced after c. A.D. 130 (see 4.II.1, and Marsh 1978, 199), and the oxidised, white-slipped, and painted wares possibly emanating from the Upchurch Marshes industry would also seem to have been discontinued around that time, apart from production of flagons in oxidised and white-slipped wares and beakers in oxidised ware. Further afield, however, two Romano-British fine ware industries burgeoned in the Hadrianic-early Antonine period (c. A.D. 120—160), in the lower Nene Valley around Durobrivae (modern Water Newton: Howe et al., 1980), and around Colchester (Hull 1963). The role that these two industries played in the supply of fine pottery is uncertain,, owing to similarities of fabrics and forms to Continental imports and to each other (Orton 1977b, 41; Anderson et a!. 1982). Towards the end of the period under review supplies of samian ware from Central Gaul declined in quantity, particularly in the last decade of the second century, and were effectively terminated at the end of the century (Johns 1971, 25), leaving a small-scale trade in East Gaulish 

samian, which was accompanied by black-slip beakers known as Trier ‘Rhenish ware’ or Moselkeramik, that continued during the first half of the third century. East Gaulish samian was imported from the Hadrianic period onwards, but was always very much in the shadow of the giant Central Gaulish industries, particularly those at Lezoux and Les Martres-de-Veyre, until their sudden demise.
   The publication of samian pottery has tended to be isolated from that of the remainder of Roman pottery in Britain, owing to its especial qualities as a dating medium that are a result of the industrial practices of stamping vessels with potters’ marks and utilising distinct figure-types in relief-moulding. The analysis of these techniques enables inter-site links to be established, and hence provides the facility to date one site by analogy with the samian from another site for which independent dating evidence such as building inscriptions or literary evidence for military campaigns can be adduced. It is an unfortunate consequence of this isolation that quantities of samian, and the frequency of different classes of vessel, have rarely been related to those of other wares in the publication of excavation reports and pottery syntheses (cf. e.g. Green 1976, 282, and Orton 1977b, 43). This shortcoming has been, for the present study, exacerbated by the necessity, recognised quite correctly by excavators, of submitting samian to specialists for analysis; consequently, the samian has all too frequently been unavailable for study by the present author with a view to quantification in line with that undertaken with other types of pottery. Published quantified statistics on samian tend to be based either on a ‘minimum numbers of vessels’ approach (e.g. Bird 1982b and forthcoming) or on ‘numbers of stamps! decorated sherds per ten/five year period’ (e.g. Bird and Marsh, 1978). Clearly the latter takes account of only a small portion of the samian assemblage, and in published form differentiation

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