Samian Pottery, a Resource for the Study of Roman Britain and Beyond: The results of the English Heritage funded Samian Project. The Spreadsheet Data.

Steve Willis, 2005

Data copyright © Dr Steve Willis unless otherwise stated

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Dr Steve Willis
School of European Culture and Languages
University of Kent
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Steve Willis (2005) Samian Pottery, a Resource for the Study of Roman Britain and Beyond: The results of the English Heritage funded Samian Project. The Spreadsheet Data. [data-set]. York: Archaeology Data Service [distributor]

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Samian pottery (terra sigillata) is one of the best quality data sources available for research in the Roman period. Its wide distribution, standardised typology and comparatively close dating combine to make this artefact class particularly amenable to analytical approaches. Examination of its archaeological occurrence reveals dimensions of patterning that provide a unique and exciting window upon the character of society and cultural practice during the Roman era.

The final phase of the Samian Pottery project, published in Internet Archaeology, has had a strong synthesising and analytical imperative, with the intention of bringing together existing knowledge of samian to ensure fuller use of this valuable asset. The potential has hitherto been somewhat 'hidden', being compartmentalised within site reports and other publications, there having been only limited opportunities in the past for the distillation of the archaeology of samian beyond dating. (Samian is a key indicator of chronology in the early and mid Roman period in Northwest Europe and remains so. A developing archaeological awareness of the era, however, will be stongly enhanced through examination of other facets of samian data). Samian distribution and group composition is shown by the Internet Archaeology article associated with the data downloadable here to be a source of valuable information. This information may be effectively harnessed to shed light upon a series of aspects of Roman Britain, with resonance beyond the province of Britannia.

The Samian Pottery project dataset downloadable here provides a tool allowing access to researchers to pursue their own questions, and/or with which they may compare their own samian groups. The data downloadable here allows reference to a corpus of data collected from a range of sites across Britain covering all appropriate periods.