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Excavations of 1930 - Samian ware supplement; by Eric Birley
Topic Started: Feb 1 2010, 07:14 PM (282 Views)
SacoHarry
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As promised, here is the section on samian found by Eric Birley at Vindolanda in 1930. It was originally presented in-line with the rest of the paper, "An Introduction to the Excavation of Chesterholm-Vindolanda" in Archaeologia Aeliana, Series 4, Volume VIII, 1931, pp. 182-212. But it seemed to flow better online by pulling it into its own separate page here. Enjoy!
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SacoHarry
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FIGURED SAMIAN (fig. 7).31

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1. (F.S. 1: site B, ditch.) The leaf in the upper band of decoration, the quatrefoil ornament in the upper compartment of the “St. Andrew's Cross” motif, and the rosettes, are all used by M.CRESTIO (Knorr 1919, taf. 28 and textbild 17). The bear occurs on bowls of form 29 by DARIBITVS and LICINVS (l.c., taf. 30, taf. 45), DAMONVS and S.VIIRIV (London Museum), and MODESTVS (Vindonissa Museum, on a bowl in “marbled” technique); all these potters, however, belong to the pre-Flavian period. As yet no signed example has been noted on Flavian vessels, but there are several unsigned instances; cf. Lee, Isca Silurum, plate XIII, no. 7; Carnarvon, p. 158, no. 50; Brecon, S. 64; on form 78 in the Vindonissa Museum; and, in the National Museum in Zurich, on a late South Gaulish piece, on which the stag, D. 865 (for which cf. no. 5 below) also occurs. The style of decoration is paralleled by pieces found at Pompeii, and therefore not later than A.D. 79; cf. Atkinson, J.R.S. IV, plate xi, no. 55, plate xii, no. 60, etc; and on general grounds A.D. 80 or thereabouts would be the likeliest date for our piece. To judge by the types other than the bear (which in this case cannot help us) the piece was made by M.CRESTIO or a closely allied potter, in the earlier part of his career.

2. (F.S. 6: site B, ditch.) The festoon and the detached leaf are both characteristic of the work of GERMANVS, to whom this piece may be attributed; cf. Knorr 1919, taf. 35, nos. 53 and 67. This potter's work falls chiefly into the period A.D. 60-80, his floruit being about 70. This piece, like no. 1, might belong to the beginning of Agricola's governorship.

3. (F.S. 8: site B, ditch.) For a similar straight-wreath, cf. Knorr 1919, taf. 59, D (by MOMMO); Newstead, p. 215, no. 9, is a very similar piece. The style of decoration recurs on work by GERMANI F SER, BIRAGILLVS, and other late South Gaulish potters.

4. (F.S. 26: north gate, in a disturbed patch of the gate passage.) This stag is used by NIC... (D. 862); OF SECVND (Knorr 1919, taf. 73); and MERCATO (Richborough II, plate xxvii, no. 11): while it can also be attributed to a number of other South Gaulish potters who use the companion stag to r. The hare is also used by OF SECVND (Knorr 1919, taf. 73). Typologically, the piece belongs to the period A.D. 80-90; its occurrence at the north gate, though in a place where stratification had been destroyed, is noteworthy.

5. (F.S. 13: site B, ditch.) This stag Dechelette ascribes to the fabric of Banassac; cf. D 865; Knorr, Rottenburg, taf. V, no. 5. In the Vindonissa Museum, it occurs in several cases on late South Gaulish examples of form 37 -- on pieces typologically later than our nos. 1-6 and 8; the removal of legion XI Claudia from Vindonissa in A.D. 100 to the Danube, suggests that year as a terminus ante quem for the arrival of samian there: this suggestion is borne out by the sudden and complete break in the occupation of the site, to which the plentiful pottery bears witness. From A.D. 100 to c. 150, Vindonissa was not occupied; its value, therefore, for a criterion of the dating of late South Gaulish pottery cannot be overrated.

6. (F.S. 7: site B, ditch.) The trefoil is used by MERCATO (Knorr 1919, textbild 47); this piece and no. 5 come from bowls that have been made in somewhat worn moulds; the glaze, however, is good.

7. (F.S. 25: site C, outside the fort-wall.) The gladiators occur at Colchester on form 37, stamped FRONTINI. In Knorr 1919, they are figured on a piece (taf. 29, B.) with the ovolo that was used by CRVCVRO and M.CRESTIO: whilst they occur on a 37 in the Cambridge Museum signed by CRVCVRO (Brecon Gaer, p. 141). At Brecon they occur on a 37 with the ovolo, with tongue ending in large rosette, that was used by PAVLLVS and MERCATO. The fabric and execution of our piece are poor.

8. (F.S. 24: site 11, ditch.) The straight-wreath is used by PASSENVS or PASSIENVS (Knorr 1919, taf. 62, no. 30); the feet above it probably belong to the bear, D. 818. This type occurs at Brecon Gaer (S. 147) on a piece in the style of GERMANI F SER.

9. A-D. (F.S. 2: site B, ditch.) Four fragments, probably from the same bowl; some of them are partly burnt. The Pan (D. 416) is used by OF MASCVI (Knorr 1919, taf. 53); it occurs in the Bregenz “cellar-find” on form 37, attributed to MERCATO, as does the Silenus (D. 323) whose feet and bunch of grapes appear in 9D. In 9B, the foot over the altar is probably that of the Satyr (D. 332) used by GERMANVS; this type occurs (on form 78) at Cannstatt (Knorr 1919, textbild 22), the occupation of which began in c. A.D. 90.

The Bregenz material was dated by Jacobs to the time of Trajan; but the material in the Vindonissa Museum -- earlier than A.D. 100. -- includes much that is as late as any in the Bregenz cellar-find, if not indeed later; and pieces with the types that occur on our no. 9 are common there. It is therefore noteworthy that these types hardly occur in Scotland.

10. (F.S. 17: site B, unstratified.) The Venus (D. 176) is used by the Lezoux potter ARCANVS (Knorr, Rottenburg, taf. IX, no. 1); the figure on the right is probably a harpy, such as are not uncommon on Trajanic samian. The sharp wavy line is particularly characteristic of Arcanus and contemporary potters. The glaze of this piece has largely perished, but the fabric is hard and good.

11. (F.S. 12, 14: site B, ditch.) Two pieces, probably from the same bowl, form 37; very good glaze, fabric, and execution. The “ram's-horn” type of straight-wreath is especially characteristic of the group of potters usually assigned to Luxeuil or Vichy; it occurs, for example, on a vessel with the type of decoration attributable to RANTO at Rottweil, (taf. IX, no. 1). Examples occur also at Carnarvon, Brecon Gaer, Caer Llugwy, Templebrough, Richborough (second report, p. 57 f.), London (where it is very common), York and many other sites. As yet, no example of it has been found in Scotland.

It will be seen that of the South Gaulish pieces, nos. 1-9, 1 and 2 might be earlier than A.D. 80, whilst the remainder are all earlier than 100; nos. 10 and 11 may be assigned to the first quarter of the second century. There is as yet insufficient evidence to decide whether the initial occupation of the site is to be dated as early as the time of Agricola; account must be taken of the possibility of survivals; but the series, for all that it is a small one, affords an instructive contrast to the Scottish material.

31 F.S. (=Figured samian) followed by a number, refers to the index by which it will he possible to find the material at Chesterholm; then follows the find-spot.
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