Decorated samian

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Decorated samian

The decorated samian ware which the legionaries used on arrival at Exeter in the 50s AD used restrained Classical floral patterns. By the 70s, when they left Exeter, the decorators had introduced animal and human motifs, and the work was coarser.

They were made by pushing soft clay into a fired earthenware mould whose inner surface was impressed with the pattern which appeared on the outside of the vessel.

These fragments, recovered by the antiquary W.P.T. Shortt from the site of the Lower Market, Fore Street (now the Corn Exchange) in the 1830s, were among the first Roman artefacts from the city to be published. They belong to the form known as Dragendorf 30 - a small bowl with straight upright sides.

Acknowledgments: RAM Museum

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