VM_365 Day 86. Wooden box stores Roman samian collection

Box stores Roman samian vessels from Drapers Mills, Margate
Box stores Roman samian vessels from Drapers Mills, Margate

Today’s VM_365 image is of a collection of  whole vessels and large sherds made from a disticnctive type of Roman pottery called samian ware.

This selection comes from the archive of the excavation carried out at Drapers Mills near Margate between 1959 and 1961 by Mr Joe Coy. The site is known to have been the location of a major Roman building, probably a Villa, which has produced many interesting finds such as the boxer’s head shown in an earlier post.

Over the years the Trust for Thanet Archaeology has acquired the archives of several early excavations carried out by some of the pioneering archaeologists in Thanet. Although we have been supported with donations from our wish list and with funding for storage material, we have limited resources to do everything we might to understand and examine in detail all the material we have in storage.

When we are able to open up and examine the contents of a box, it can reveal hidden treasures like this group of samian vessels and sherds.  Samian was a high status product, manufactured in very large quantities from the early 1st century to the mid 3rd century AD. Samian producing kilns were located in southern and northern France and later in southern and eastern Germany, which were part of the province of Gaul.

Now this important group of material has been rediscovered, it can be examined and dated using up to date knowledge of the production centres and manufacturers. As more is learned from the material archives, the real significance of the Roman sites we have identified in the map of Roman Thanet becomes clearer.

The pottery in this image was discussed in greater detail by Dr. Steve Willis, a specialist in samian ware, on Day 345 of the VM_365 project. An interesting observation on the parallels between the origins of some of the pottery and the box the material was stored was discussed on on Day_346.


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